Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Palin-ological scatology

The similarity between my surname and that of the US Republican vice-presidential candidate has not escaped my attention. I see all the bad puns that have been associated with my own name rolling out (palin-drome, palin-ology etc). Plus, Sarah Palin does look a bit like my wife and curiously my sister traded the name Pallen for Palin when she got married (I wonder how often people with the same surname get married?).

I fully expect that the two names are "homologous", probably sharing a common ancestry in the Welsh "ap Alun", meaning son of Alan.

But in fact my paternal ancestral lineage and that of my surname soon diverge as you go back in time, as my father adopted the surname of his step-father, so at least I can say I am no more related to Ms Palin than the average person of "Anglo" origin, so don't tar me with her brush!!. 

A nice contribution to Palin-ological scatology comes from Jonathon Eisen:

Tracing the evolutionary history of Sarah Palin: links to a parasitic nematode and the pathogenic fungus Botryotinia fuckeliana

Those fond of fnarr fnarr bioinformatics will also delight in the following searches of the nucleotide or PubMed databases:
Fnarr fnarr...

1 comment:

Jonathan Eisen said...

Perhaps you should start a "Pallen" "Palin" name campaign like the "Project Steve" . It would be good to get Sarah Palin involved in something like this.