Nate Lo found a weird microbe living inside the mitochondria of tick eggs, a notable first in biology. But he had trouble naming it, until he ran into a website describing midi-chlorians, which is the basis of the Force in Star
So Lo started surfing the Web, looking for ideas and finding nothing until one link took him to a page on the Wikipedia Web site describing midichlorians. He discovered that George Lucas had invented these creatures while dreaming up his Star Wars movies. The mysterious intracellular organisms apparently reside within the cells of almost all living things and communicate with the Force.
"I quite liked the earlier Star Wars movies, but I'd never heard of these midichlorians before," Lo explains. Although he's not what you'd call a Star Wars fanatic, Lo began thinking perhaps he should name his real-life organism after the imaginary ones. After all, he says, "Art is often imitating science, but it doesn't often go the other way." [...]
Meanwhile, one of Lo's coauthors started to get a little nervous. Weren't midichlorians the intellectual property of George Lucas? Might he sue? While the paper was out for review, Lo wrote to Lucas and sought his permission. "I was really praying he wouldn't say no," Lo says. Lucas' assistant wrote back graciously to say that George was fine with the whole thing, and on June 20, the journal accepted the paper.