Harry Potter Fan Explains Wizard Genetics

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Harry Potter Fan Explains Wizard Genetics

An ambitious biology major has revealed the scientific reasoning for the dominant wizarding gene.

Genetics among the witches and wizards in the Harry Potter universe is a confusing topic. How does one explain Muggle-born wizards, wizard-born Squibs, and the claim from prominent wizarding families that purebloods are better? One Harry Potter fan thinks she has the answer: trinucleotide repeats.

Biology major and Harry Potter fan Andrea Klenotiz formulated her genetic theory following author J.K. Rowling's statement that the wizarding gene is dominant. After protests by "a bunch of fans who stopped learning genetics after Punnett squares in fourth grade," in Andrea's words, she used her biology knowledge and a massive amount of research to defend Rowling's statement. Andrea sent the author her six-page paper of her theories, as well as posting it on her Tumblr.

This is the basis of her support of the wizarding gene as dominant:

The Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group (1993) proved that the disease was caused by CAG (cytosine-adenine-guanine) trinucleotide repeats. The Huntington gene is dominant and autosomal (not linked to sex chromosomes). Normally, a person has 11 to 34 CAG repeats in the gene of interest, which causes the transcription of the normal huntingtin protein. Unfortunately, when an individual has 42 to over 66 CAG repeats, the abnormal huntingtin protein transcribed causes serious symptoms later in life. The huntingtin gene with an abnormal number of repeats shows dominant patterns of inheritance over the huntingtin gene containing a normal number of repeats. Let us postulate that the gene determining magical ability contains trinucleotide repeats.

Trinucleotide repeats are inherently unstable, so DNA replication errors, such as slippage, are more likely to occur. The repeat sequence can become longer over succeeding generations because these sequences are often susceptible to genetic expansion, a type of mutation which increases the number of repeats... If 100 repeats are necessary for the gene to be of the magical dominant allele variety, the recessive non-magical, or muggle, allele type might only contain about 50 repeats. So, within a range, most muggles have about 50 trinucleotide repeats, but like any other trait there will be variation and some muggles might have 90 repeats and still be phenotypically non-magical. Muggle-borns are caused by spontaneous mutations... A muggle with about 90 repeats could, through genetic expansion, produce a child with at least 100 repeats (muggle-born witch/wizard). Though the muggle would still be more likely to produce a non-magical child, he or she would have better odds of breaking the 100 repeat threshold than two muggles with the usual 50 repeats.

The paper goes on to explain the presence of Squibs, non-magical humans born to wizard parents. As it turns out, there are two possible explanations for Filch and Mrs. Figg: "Either the individual did not inherit the wizarding gene despite TRD ... or the individual has a rare deletion mutation removing a series of trinucleotide repeats." Andrea even hypothesized that varying levels of power in wizards could be attributed to a pronounced phenotype caused by an extreme number of trinucleotide repeats over several generations.

The full paper delves even deeper into the science of wizarding genetics, and all Andrea wants in return for her impressive work is for Rowling to sign her 15-item bibliography. If an ambitious math major could determine the statistical probability of Slytherin members becoming dark wizards, we would be even closer to solving the mysteries of the Harry Potter universe.

Source: The Mary Sue

Permalink

You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

Mumorpuger:
You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

I lol'd so hard.

Mumorpuger:
You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

Exactly my thoughts. Speaking as a Harry Potter fan, while this is all very impressive, this woman really has too much time on her hands. Harry Potter isn't hard sci-fi. This is one of those times when it's more than ok to just say "It's magic. Magic exists. Magic doesn't need an explanation because it's magic, and the more you try to explain it the more you miss the point and the less interesting it becomes. It's just magic, deal with it."

Mumorpuger:
You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

Damn... I owe someone money now...

Everyone salute this nerd of nerds.

*Salute n' Small Tear*

Mumorpuger:
You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

That's the best "/thread" I have seen in awhile. Bravo sir.

Wow, I can't believe someone delved this deep into it.

We (bronies) did the same thing regarding pony genetics. Had quite a few forum posts about how earth ponies could have pegasus and unicorn foals (the episode that inspired the debate was "Baby Cakes" if you were interested).

But sorry for the slight derail. Carry on.

Mumorpuger:
You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

You win the Internet sir =).

Charli:
Everyone salute this nerd of nerds.

*Salute n' Small Tear*

Indeed! To those that go above and beyond to make the fictional worlds we love closer to reality. *toasts his drink*

Charli:
Everyone salute this nerd of nerds.

*Salute n' Small Tear*

*Salutes and a single manly tear falls*
What an epic show of fandom.

mundane explanation to fantastic elements. Not really what a fantasy series ever needs.

NinjaDeathSlap:
...this woman really has too much time on her hands...

This looks pretty silly, but anyone who can use the phrase "phenotypically non-magical" in context deserves my praise.

Well done, Ms. Klenotiz. You're officially invited to my band, Phenotypically Magical.

I would say this is quite an impressive feat, but I can't shake the feeling, why, why would anyone care this much? However the work put into it actually mentions valid genetics and shows a great understanding and it even explains it very well for someone who's got brief knowledge on how we "read" DNA (someone lacking this knowledge would have problems understanding the meaning of CAG) and also shows a lot of creativity.he's got my approval, that's for sure.

Now explain how a strand of DNA can make a set of proteins that fucking makes you magic!

Its nice to see her (name sounds female) putting work into the issue and congratulations on the essay, but it all seems rather dumb when you use science to explain magic, something that is inherently unexplainable and the opposite of science. I'd rather just say 'because flux capacitor' and realize how silly it is rather then trying to explain it and winding up with more problems.

The nerd is strong with this one...

Wonder if she's hot?

Twilight_guy:
Now explain how a strand of DNA can make a set of proteins that fucking makes you magic!

Its nice to see her (name sounds female) putting work into the issue and congratulations on the essay, but it all seems rather dumb when you use science to explain magic, something that is inherently unexplainable and the opposite of science. I'd rather just say 'because flux capacitor' and realize how silly it is rather then trying to explain it and winding up with more problems.

JK has stipulated in interviews, plus going off what other people have said, hinted in the books that magic has scientific groundings and thus to a limited extent can be explained by science.

Mumorpuger:
You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

That was brilliant, just brilliant.

Twilight_guy:
Now explain how a strand of DNA can make a set of proteins that fucking makes you magic!

Its nice to see her (name sounds female) putting work into the issue and congratulations on the essay, but it all seems rather dumb when you use science to explain magic, something that is inherently unexplainable and the opposite of science. I'd rather just say 'because flux capacitor' and realize how silly it is rather then trying to explain it and winding up with more problems.

She's not explaining the origins of magic, just explaining how magic is inherited, the fact that there's a set of proteins that gives you magic is left to the discretion of the author. Just because it's fiction doesn't mean it can't have some scientific basis

I still prefer the Joe Quesada approach.

"It's magic, we don't have to explain it."

So she did what every 13 year old fanfic writer does? Wow, impressive.

saintdane05:
I still prefer the Joe Quesada approach.

"It's magic, we don't have to explain it."

and thank god for that because it would be kinda hard to explain why you can trade in marriages for deals with extra favors.

ot: this kinda devoted fandom is the reason i prefer to stay on the sidelines, i like harry potter but this kinda devotion is scary.

I havn't read the books in English, but "squib" shouldn't have a capitalized s, right?

Now if only she would focus this drive and attention on something useful...

Saulkar:

Twilight_guy:
Now explain how a strand of DNA can make a set of proteins that fucking makes you magic!

Its nice to see her (name sounds female) putting work into the issue and congratulations on the essay, but it all seems rather dumb when you use science to explain magic, something that is inherently unexplainable and the opposite of science. I'd rather just say 'because flux capacitor' and realize how silly it is rather then trying to explain it and winding up with more problems.

JK has stipulated in interviews, plus going off what other people have said, hinted in the books that magic has scientific groundings and thus to a limited extent can be explained by science.

Time travel as a plot point. That explanation is very, very limited to the point where 'Flux capacitor' is an accurate description of how soft the science is.

Azuaron:

NinjaDeathSlap:
...this woman really has too much time on her hands...

At first I thought I got your meaning.

But then I watched the whole thing.

Well played.

Azuaron:

NinjaDeathSlap:
...this woman really has too much time on her hands...

-_-

Well played. Not exactly what I meant... but well played.

Uh I'll call bullshit on this, because having more trinucleotide repeats will mean a worse DNA and not an advantage, so you wouldn't get magic from this. She could've picked missense or nonsense mutations or mutations in coding genes or any of the other mechanisms to maker her point. Why did she pick the dancing disease lol?

Also, there are other mechanisms she could've used that actually give advantage while she's making this all up. Like karyotype changes of supermale or superfemale genome of XYY or XXX for this "magic" heritage, and supermales are still fertile so they can pass it down. Or shortened telomeres which people try to theorise as the "cure" to ageing, which could explain why magic people live longer in the universe.

Now that's hard sci-fi mixed with your fantasy.

C'mon, anyone who's done genetics on any level knows the more repeats or mutations is a bad thing. Oh and I'm a medical student but anyone with A-level biology knows this is her wiki'ing because she is obsessed with a dead franchise.


Odd vocabulary aside, I find these kinds of things intriguing that not only are people applying real life biology to obviously impossible scenarios, but they are proving it plausible (if such mutations already existed)

snowfi6916:
Wow, I can't believe someone delved this deep into it.

We (bronies) did the same thing regarding pony genetics. Had quite a few forum posts about how earth ponies could have pegasus and unicorn foals (the episode that inspired the debate was "Baby Cakes" if you were interested).

But sorry for the slight derail. Carry on.

That was even more complicated than this, what with 3 types of dominant and recessive. At least this one I only had to re-read once or twice.

Mumorpuger:
You mean it wasn't midichlorians?

you win sir, On that note, what if J.K.Rowling had directed starwars 1,2 and 3?

God bless the Nerd, nothing is too detailed for their eye.

So...are we all lame Muggles?! Dammit!

But seriously, it's like someone said The Harry Potter world is rules by " just because". As in: Why does magic exist? Most of the things there don't make a lot of sense (The ending of Prisoner of Azkaban, anyone?) so you just gotta nod your head and deal with it.
If anything, this whole thing is good for the lulz but that's about it. Like that one other guy who did that research about Rainbow Dash's attack or something.

This is great and all, but the biggest question for me about Harry Potter magic was why they didn't have mana. Being able to shoot one hit kills without limit also seemed... yeah.

Gatx:
This is great and all, but the biggest question for me about Harry Potter magic was why they didn't have mana. Being able to shoot one hit kills without limit also seemed... yeah.

Theres a lot of things I didnt quite get in the HP universe which seemed to be explained with the ol' "Just because".

Mana of a sort did exist though, its just a skill. A champion NBA player could keep shooting hoops from huge distances with ease over a weekend dribbler, but after a while that NBA player will get tired and need to rest up. Its that fatigue that comes from using magic that limits how much someone can do.

Cracked did a fantastic article on the HP universe and why its doomed, well worth a read if you like nitpicking like me :D

http://www.cracked.com/article_19667_6-horrifying-implications-harry-potter-universe.html

I wish I had the wizard gene. I could have gone to hogwarts and all ;_;

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Posting on this forum is disabled.