Name that gene: Genome Registry offers opportunity to pay for pseudonym

The Genome Registry allows people to put their name on any gene or chromosome that has been mapped by scientists.
by Jay F. Marks Modified: November 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: November 11, 2013

A local company is offering the chance to put your name on one of the building blocks of life.

Businessman Hal Stevens came up with the idea for the Genome Registry in 2001, but science wasn't ready for it at that time.

Now he has hooked up with University of Central Oklahoma biology professor Jim Bidlack, who serves as the company's vice president and chief science officer.

The registry allows buyers an opportunity to name a gene or chromosome from any plant, animal or other organism with a genetic code that has been mapped by researchers.

“This unique concept had its nurturing, incubation and development period,” Stevens said.

Bidlack said he was skeptical of the idea that Stevens compared to the International Star Registry, but he soon realized the diversity of choices available for the registry.

He said scientists have mapped the genomes of as many as 200 organisms, ranging from humans, pandas and beets to bacteria and fungi.

He tracks new discoveries with the National Center for Biotechnical Information.

Bidlack estimated there are more than 18 billion identified genes.

The Genome Registry sells “gene pseudonyms.” It costs $39 to name a gene or $99 for a chromosome, unless additional research is required.

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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