It Gets Weirder:
Shortly after World War II, Idaho sheep ranchers experienced a decade-long scourge of lambs which, like the miracle goat, looked like they'd been squeezed out of Ray Harryhausen. It took 11 years and a string of U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers before one scientist, Lynn James, finally figured out that the mutations in question were not caused by nearby nuclear testing, but were in fact all thanks to some flowers.
Corn lilies, to be precise. See, during the dry summer season, momma sheep would migrate to higher ground and eat these tasty (albeit toxic) flowers. The poisonous blooms didn't harm the adult sheep, but they did attack the genes of their unborn babies, causing a typically fatal birth defect known as cyclopia. Fetuses suffering from this mutation ended up with half the brain hemispheres of a normally developed mammal, as well as half the eyes. This (rarely) happens to humans too, by the by. Wouldn't recommend looking it up.
Today, the sneaky toxin present in corn lilies is known as cyclopamine, while the misfiring gene responsible for cyclopia, identified by Harvard researcher Cliff Tabin in the early '90s, has been dubbed sonic hedgehog. Because Cliff is one of us.
European Bioinformatics Institute
Remember it was the '90s, so Sonic could still be associated with something that looks colorful and interesting.