…Is the power of the molecular biologist not a kind of onomapoetics? Does she not manipulate names as much as she handles specimens? Researchers in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at Berkeley and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine have recently identified two new fibroblast growth factor genes (so-called FGF genes), named ‘Thisbe’ (ths) and ‘Pyramus’ (pyr), in Drosophilia, the common fruitfly and the model species of modern genetics. These genes, which indirectly code for the proteins necessary to the development of cardiac tissue, are always found linked closely together in sequence, and since the mutant phenotype (a fly without either ths or pyr) exhibits incomplete cardiac development, the authors named their discovery ‘for the “heartbroken” lovers described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses,’ the very myth of loss and transformation that inspired Shakespeare to write the plot of the ‘rude mechanicals’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and which Bottom and company submit to such monstrous ‘disfigurement’ at Theseus’s court.
—Henry S. Turner, Shakespeare’s Double Helix.