Posted by Craig, February 2017

The story of Liz

A blog is an excellent platform to transfer knowledge. You write about an experience, tools or something you've learnt and you hope that by publishing it, it will educate someone else. Another good use for a blog is to answer frequently asked questions, much like Fiona did after being asked "Why and how is Repositive a social enterprise".

Looking at the title you've probably now guessed this post is about our mascot... but that frequently asked question is simply "why the lizard?". It's a simple question, but the answer has varying levels of complexity. So let's dive into the rabbit (or should I say lizard) hole.


At Repositive we are big on diversity. Our team is international! We have Spain, Slovakia, Iran, Germany, Denmark, Romania, United States, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland who are all represented. We are advocates of #ScienceIsGlobal and took to Twitter to show how proud we are of having an international team. We also regularly take advantage of this with table-top football championships, and believe it or not, England is currently in the semi-final. Who'd have thought it!

table football

We are also obsessed with the diversity of genomic data on the Repositive platform. This is why Manny highlighted European Bias in Personal Genomics on our blog, and Charlotte advertised the indexing of the Estonian Biocentre data and how this diverse data source is one step towards reducing said "European Bias".

But what does this have to do with lizards?

Well, lizards are incredibly diverse genetically. There are over 4,675 species according to the San Diego Zoo. Some have four legs, some with two and some lizards have no legs (notice no lizards have an odd number of legs). Lizards can have frills, horns and wings. Some lay eggs and some give birth to live young. They are nearly every colour imaginable.

People are also genetically diverse. We may not have wings or frills (although I am sure some of us wish we did), we are very genetically diverse. From obvious physical attributes, to those who appear the same but carry genetic mutations and if you start adding epigenetics into the equation, things really get interesting. Because people are so genetically different, so is genomic data. It's the comparing of these differences that helps us understand which genes or proteins cause these variations, and at times can lead to the development of a rare disease. Aiding precision medicine to tackle rare diseases is one of the driving missions behind Repositive.

It is also these genetic variations that actually make lizards super cool.

Lizards have super powers!

Many lizards will sever their tail from their body as a means of defense. Which in itself is pretty cool, but the fact that some can also regrow that tail... Well, that's something out of science fiction! In fact, Spiderman fights a villain called "The Lizard" who is a man genetically altered with the genes of a lizard. It was a science experiment gone wrong. The scientist only wanted to regrow his lost arm, and not freak out! Come to think of it, this is another lizard in a lab coat...


Ok, sorry I am geeking out here. Moving on.

The Green Basilisk can run on water! I learnt this when I first started working for Repositive and our CTO Adrian asked me to name the lizard mascot. Because 'Liz' can stand upright and was a vibrant green, I almost called her 'Basil'. Perhaps in an alternative reality, she is, or should I say, he is!

Chameleons can obviously change colour, it's a famous characteristic. However, did you also know that a Chameleons tongue is longer than its body? Did you know that their eyes can look in different directions? Lizards basically have super powers.

chameleon-540655 1280

At Repositive we want to give our users "super powers". The power to find more data quickly, collaborate on research projects and make incredible discoveries.

Why did we call the lizard 'Liz'?

Our lizard mascot has a strong female influence in her life. Repositive is only in existence because Fiona started DNAdigest and then spun out Repositive (read more). Our very talented designer and children's book illustrator Carolina drew several characters for use as platform avatars. From these concepts the lizard mascot was born.

Why we choose the lizard over the dog, cat or squirrel is all mentioned above. Considering the two mothers who gave her life, it made sense to make our mascot female. This is why 'Basil' no longer worked for a name. I joked and said we could simply call her 'Liz', which stuck. Now any other name seems odd.

BTW - Nicknames are sort of my thing around the office. That's why we have 'Tron', 'Hasta Jana', 'Bro', Sebware', 'Charles', 'Captain', 'Hot Cheese' and 'Mullet'. So believe me, I gave it a real go to give 'Liz' an awesome name.

What is your mascot?

Do you have a mascot at your organisation? Where did it come from? What did you call it? Does it make you happy?

I find it fascinating how brands came to be. Please share your stories on your brand. Or alternatively, I love hearing what people think to 'Liz', our V.I.L (Very Important Lizard), because she make us happy!

Posted by
Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Marketing Manager
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