A Gift For You …

DebE —  August 9, 2012 — 7 Comments

 

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No, really …  Well, all right, you might not be interested, in which case, toddle off once I reveal what I’m about to share with you. But if you are curious, stick around, because I am about to share my thought processes regarding the genetics of my two major magical people in my little fantasy world

Yeah. That’s right. It’s geek-speak time!

So, I’ve written a whole book without really investigating this so far. Sure, I’ve thought about it. But I haven’t really delved. But as I set down to work on my future books and think about the implications of some of my previous work (one of which can be seen in my supporting “prequel” short story Toes Across The Floor*) I find that I really do need to know this. No, it’s not going to be explained in the books (we’re talking equivalent to 1860s, here, people. Mendel himself was only just figuring out the basics).

Right, so now for the fun stuff. There are a bunch of options available to me. There are genes carried only on the sex chromosomes. Genes carried on the somatic (non-sex) chromosomes. Genes like blood types – with three varieties, leading to four (at least …) outcomes. There are genes in which two copies can be fatal. And then there are genes like the colour genes for cats and horses etc. that have another gene that can override the fact that there was going to be colour and make a white patch. Or, like human skin colouring, or height, or whatever, we could have a multitude of genes involved. So very many choices (although, I have ruled out the last because that leads to a spectrum of effects, rather than an “on/off” kind of situation that I want) … So, what to do , what to do?

I’ll be honest. I haven’t come up with my final answer, yet. But I do have ideas.

For one thing, each “race” (as they are referred to in the story, though it is just a matter of a gene or two) has two varieties: The Sy- and the non-Sy-. OK, let’s go back.

I have two “races”: the Kara (“Karan” singular), and the Aenuks, which may also go on to be Syakaran or Syaenuk. My current thinking is that there will be a separate gene controlling the Sy- part.

What’s exciting about that, is that you could have a “normal” person (carries neither the Karan nor the Aenuk genes) who carries the Sy- gene … They might not have any magic, but pair them with the right person and voilà you get a super magic baby, rather than “just” a magic baby (the Sy- gene being a volume booster for the other two).

Now, to complicate things even further, but also make it even more fun, I am considering having the Sy- gene have three varieties like our blood groups – so, if you’re Aenuk but carry the Sy- (Kara) gene, you’ll still “just” be Aenuk (healer, by the way). And if you’re Karan (warrior – strong/fast), and carry the Sy- (Aenuk) gene, you’ll be “just” Karan, rather than the more powerful Syakaran. With me so far? Yeah …

To illustrate, somewhat, here are the potential Sy- varieties in this scenario: SKSK, or SKS0, or, SASA, SAS0, or SKSA, or S0S0 (bummer, superscript doesn’t work … well, pretend the little K’s, A’s and 0’s are in superscript, OK?). S0S0 would be “normal” (non-Sy-) and, like the O Blood-type, would be the most common.

What’s quite fun about separating out the varieties like this is that I have two countries who each prefer one race (Karan or Aenuk). Of course, they also mostly value the Sy- varieties, but they’re rare. I’m thinking the countries could be shooting themselves in the foot (feet … whatever), because the nation that prefers the Karan might just happen to carry a large proportion of Sy(Aenuk) genes hidden within their population, but they wouldn’t know it because they don’t have any of that race within their borders (if they can help it). And vice versa, of course. And never mind the rest of the world beyond those nations’ borders …

Now, I just need to decide how the Karan and Aenuk genes are passed on …

* For those interested, while I originally “stole” the title of the Blind Melon song for the title of my story, I have kept it thanks to the opening lines of the song and the uncanny relevance to my little world: “Doesn’t anybody feel that all these killers should be killed, and all these healers should be healed …” (which of the two “races” we consider killers – the “perfect for battle” super strong and super fast Kara, or the devastating Aenuks who sap life from other things to do their healing, well, that’s up for interpretation … but, still …)

 

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DebE

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Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a nematophagus fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction. Mum of one human & four fur-babies.

7 responses to A Gift For You …

  1. 

    I’ve never been very good at biology which means genes included! But what does SKSA look like? Is that an immortal? Syakaran and syaenuk together? And does everyone have a sy gene (either a sy-karan or sy-aenuk one?) or did you just list the sy genes to avoid complicating things? SKSK is Jonas? SASA is Llew?
    “if you’re Aenuk but carry the Sy- (Kara) gene, you’ll still “just” be Aenuk” – what does this combination look like? I probably look totally stupid but honestly I have no idea and I’m too lazy to think about it more deeply 😛

    • 

      Well, luckily I have been thinking about this, so I should be able to tell you. It’s probably worth doing a post on it, too.
      Basically, I am going to have to keep track of three genes.
      A normal person would look something like this:

      A? + S?S? + K? (with *most* being AA + S0S0 + KK)

      The question marks mean we wouldn’t know for sure what gene is there. And it really doesn’t matter – that person wouldn’t be Aenuk, nor Karan, and may or may not carry the Sy- gene for either … doesn’t matter – it won’t be expressed. With me?

      Heh heh.

      Llew is:

      aa + SAS0 + KK (Aenuk, heterozygous Sy- Aenuk, not Karan)

      The reason she can’t be homozygous Sy- is because her father isn’t Syaenuk.

      Jonas is:

      AA + SKSK + kk (not Aenuk, homozygous Sy- Karan, Karan)

      If they were to have a baby together, they could have a:

      Aa + SASK + Kk, or a
      Aa + SKS0 + Kk,

      which would be: Not-Aenuk(!) + either Sy- both, or Sy- Karan only + Not-Karan(!)

      So, a child from one of each line will always be “normal”! Making it look like a dead-end. But, those genes are there for future generations.

      Of course, there is always the chance of a random mutation in there, too! (Yay, mutations, saving an author’s butt for millennia).

      In the case of the child that appears in the short story “Toes Across The Floor”, the son of:

      Braph: AA + S0S0 + kk (not Aenuk, not Sy of either kind, Karan)

      and Orina: aa + SASA + KK (Aenuk, Sy-Aenuk, not Karan)

      will be: Aa + SAS0 + Kk (not Aenuk, carries one Sy-Aenuk gene, not Karan).

      This also means that a pair of “normals” could have either a Karan baby or an Aenuk baby … So the authorities might like to keep an eye out for that. Generally, they have been bred out of the bulk of the populations, though.

      Um. Is your brain hurting?

      I love genetics (to this level, anyway – I can happily leave the chemistry of it behind, but I love this basic maths stuff – yay algebra!)

      Anyway, that’s my lesson. I’ll probably bore people if I do a bigger post.

      I played with other options (rather than the recessive gene), but they don’t give me the rarity I want. I tried one version with different levels of “strength” depending on the number of genes, but it would change things entirely. A simple “on/off” deal is what I’m after.

      Makes it a big deal that Jonas killed a bunch of Aenuks a year before the start of this story … that’s a lot of very rare genes! (which, I think I knew in my gut, anyway.) No wonder Turhmos has been hurting …

      • 

        Well that’s a lot to digest! So Aenuk and Karan genes are recessive. I keep forgetting that. You know, both my parents have brown eyes and both my brother and I have hazel (green-brown), which are recessive genes (at least I think they are). And my brother’s boys both have blue eyes which are also recessive as far as I know.

        • 

          Yep. I haven’t studied it, but I recall high school biology where B = brown and b = blue … but, I suspect there’s more to it than that since there is such a range of colours. Plus, there aren’t actually different pigments, it’s all down to how much pigment you produce – like skin colour. So, I imagine that, like skin, it’s controlled by a range of genes.

          My old dog had beautiful deep brown eyes. But he actually produced too much pigment (ocular melanosis) – so much that it basically floated around and blocked his eyes’ drainage channels so that his eyes couldn’t control their pressure. One day, he experienced a spike in pressure (acute glaucoma) and I had to have his eye removed. He was 10 at the time. He lasted till he was 14. Was a very cool one-eyed dog. Though it did suck when he got a cat claw in the one eye he had left … Anyway … I digress …

    • 

      Actually … I have one more option to play with … Perhaps the “Being Aenuk or Karan” gene could be a 3-variety jobbie … then, perhaps, it could be the Sy- part that could just be recessive/dominant … or, both of them could be 3-variety types … I shall play and make a decision soon. It would take it down to only two genes to track …

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