When geneticists found a human variant of the "hedgehog gene" in fruit flies, they decided to get cute with it and call it the "sonic hedgehog gene." That must've gotten them some weak-wristed high fives, right until it was discovered that the sonic hedgehog gene caused "severe brain, skull, and facial defects" in humans, at which point you've named a horrific disfiguring affliction after a video game mascot. But lesson learned, right?
Not at all.
Recently, an inhibitor has been found to counteract the sonic hedgehog deformation, which scientists have dubbed the Robotnikinin. Somewhere in a lab out there today, a 29-year-old PhD is gleefully looking for a defective gene that causes people to be born with two tailbones solely to keep the joke running.
In 2001, one geneticist thought it would be fun to name a cancer-causing mutation the "Pokemon gene" (short for POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic). Understandably, Pokemon USA threatened to sue the lab if they didn't change it, having to then explain, "We don't want our image undermined by associating Pokemon with cancer." Leave it to the suits to suck all the fun out of science.
The ludicrous naming got so bad that in 2015, the World Health Organization had to establish guidelines to stop scientists from turning turning life-destroying agents into pop culture references. Plenty disagreed with the move, calling it "political correctness" gone mad and saying that it would result in "boring names." But if they had their way, one day, future doctors would have to tearfully inform their patients that, unfortunately, the Pickle Rick hasn't responded to chemo, and it's time to make arrangements.