The Drosophila hedgehog (hh) gene was identified as one of several genes important for creating the differences between the anterior and posterior parts of individual body segments. The fly hh gene was independently cloned in 1992 by the labs of Jym Mohler, Philip Beachy, and Thomas B. Kornberg. Some hedgehog mutants result in abnormally-shaped embryos that are unusually short and stubby compared to wild type embryos. The function of the hedgehog segment polarity gene has been studied in terms of its influence on the normally polarized distribution of larval cuticular denticles as well as features on adult appendages such as legs and antennae. Rather than the normal pattern of denticles, hedgehog mutant larvae tend to have "solid lawns" of denticles (Figure 1). The appearance of the stubby and "hairy" larvae inspired the name 'hedgehog'.
^Ingham, Philip W.; Nakano, Yoshiro; Seger, Claudia. Mechanisms and functions of Hedgehog signalling across the metazoa. Nature Reviews Genetics. 2011, 12 (6): 393–406. doi:10.1038/nrg2984. PMID21502959.
^Nüsslein-Volhard, Christiane; Wieschaus, Eric. Mutations affecting segment number and polarity in Drosophila. Nature. 1980, 287 (5785): 795–801. doi:10.1038/287795a0. PMID6776413.