US Patent 6,907,350

Fed up with -omics (you know what I mean, genomics, proteomic, metabonomics etc etc etc etc ad infinitum…….?)

Well, a recent US patent from Japanese chemists seeks to create yet more. They claim to have coined the term “chene” meaning a chemical substance (what was wrong with chemical or compound I don’t know), and that we can now look forward to chenomics – the study of the interactions of chenes with biological systems.

What annoys me about their choice of word is that they’ve hybridised chemical and gene to make chene (obviously), but I would have thought the natural successor to the word chemical would be a cheme (a la Dawkins’ “memes”).

The word chene could have a bright side though, if science writers and journalists were to adopt it, we might be able to stave off some of that rampant chemophobia that litters the media these days.

Imagine the headlines: “Explosion at chene plant leads to thousands evacuated”, “Chene spillage closes freezes traffic into DC”, “Chene sensitivity causes eczema”….it would obfuscate the underlying public relations problem nicely…or maybe not.