Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Mind

Stupid Science Word of the Month: Shmoo

Shmoos are essential: without them, we would have neither bread nor beer.

By Jessica MarshallNovember 9, 2007 12:00 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

shmoo\’shmü\ n. [akin to schmo, from Yiddish schmuck, meaning penis or fool] (1974):  A yeast cell preparing to mate.

When ready to have sex, a yeast cell looks like an elongated pear, a shape like Al Capp’s 1948 Li’l Abner character, the Shmoo. The cell shows its mating protrusion (the shmoo tip) in the presence of the pheromone “Kickapoo Joy Juice,” anotherLi’l Abner knockoff. The word “shmoo” has appeared in nearly 700 science publications since 1974; it is used in labs studying the bread- and beer-making species Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In