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Pokémon gene renamed

Maybe we shouldn't call it that.

New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has renamed the POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic gene "Zbtb7" after Nintendo's Pokémon USA company took issue with them referring to it as "Pokémon".

And by "took issue" we obviously mean "threatened legal action", although, thinking about it, a direct swap wouldn't work because of the way we wrote the rest of that sentence. You'd actually have to change the whole second half really. But the point is, Nintendo didn't like its cutesy critter-collecting RPG/TV/everything series being associated - even casually - with a gene that's known to cause cancer.

The Pokémon gene - sorry, Zbtb7 - was originally outlined in the January issue of Nature by geneticist Pier Paolo Pandolfi, and is part of the POK gene family.

Of course, Nintendo's become increasingly protective of its various trademarks and interests in recent years, famously deciding in 2002 that the best way to solve the problem of grey imports to the UK was not to release games in a more timely fashion, but to stifle the UK import trade instead.

Last October, the company even threatened SuicideGirls.com because one of the models listed Metroid as an interest in her on-site biography, although the company later said it had made a mistake and offered free systems and software to those concerned as recompense.

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Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.