1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The Genetics of Harry Potter

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Dec 14, 2008.

    In the HP wiki I was perusing the other day I came across a listing for the word squib (born to at least one magicking parent, but having no magicking ability) which is not I think a mentioned bit of vocabulary in the movies. Rowling mentions that squibs are, "very rare indeed given that the gene for magicking is a dominant gene." So, assuming that magicking is a single allele trait, lets look at how the distribution would really play out.

    Homozygous dominant + Homozygous dominant = 100% homozygous dominant children

    Homozygous dominant + Heterozygous = 50% homozygous dominant, 50% heterozygous

    Heterozygous + Heterozygous = 25% homozygous dominant, 50% heterozygous, 25 % homozygous recessive

    Heterozygous + Homozygous recessive = 50% heterozygous, 50% homozygous recessive


    All of the end resulting offspring in red are squibs by definition since they have been born to at least one magicking parent. Muggleborns would have to be, by genetic definition, spontaneous mutations.

    While one can see that squibs have a smaller representation given that the magicking gene is dominant, and the heterozygous condition is sufficient for the magicking phenotype to be expressed, as spontaneous mutations muggleborns should have a much lower representation than all of the other geno/phenotypes, yet they are mentioned much more often than squibs.
     
  2. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Wow. Enough said.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    A bit bored, were we Wrey?
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you really think she cared that much about the genetics of it?
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    :redface: This was actually a conversation I was having with myself while I was driving back from Moca. I was in the mountains (fantastic panorama to be had in the southern mountains of Puerto Rico) and I started to work it out in my head.

    Yeah, I'm sure there's a long Latin based word in the DSM-III or DSM-IV to describe me! :p
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm sure she didn't in the writing. It is fantasy after all. But, would that I were her, I would have avoided the mention of real life science when queried about squibs.
     
  7. Eoz Eanj
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    Eoz Eanj Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love the way you've just assumed basic genetic rules would apply to the supernatural
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No, no. I would never. :eek: The information was garnered from a direct quote of Rowling's when asked about squibs.
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    There really is a line in the book that explains the occurance of Squids in the same way things like eye colour do?
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Squib

    There is even a quoted mention that Muggleborns are the product of squibs marrying Muggles and the gene popping up later, which would not really be possible since the single gene is enough (per Rowling) to have magicking ability, so there could be no 'hidden gene' to pass on without someone having magic.

    I guess my point to the thread is, if you are going to mix epistemologies, have a care.
     
  11. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is just so random! I can identify with this because this is the sort of sh--I think about all the time.

    Perhaps I also have an undiagnosed disorder that needs to be addressed, but this tickled me Wrey.:p
     
  12. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    There are just a few Squibs in the books and it is assumed that they are rare, though some are later discovered to be ‘late bloomers’. Just for kicks and to prove my lameness. Mr. Filch (Hogwarts caretaker) is a Squib, but is actually learning magic through a mail order magic university. Squibs can learn magic, but it does not come naturally. Another interesting thing that sets them apart, is that they can see Dementors, where Muggles cannot. So they have no magic to speak of and appear for all intents and purposes to be Muggle, except they are not. Something on a supernatural (Which leaves everything up in the air!) and okay a genetic level makes them different. A spell and I cannot remember the name (which is probably good) but it hides the magical world, which is in plain sight, from the Muggle world...this spell has no affect on Squibs.

    Also I believe it is discussed by Harry and Hermione in book six or seven that there are probably far more squibs than believed. Squibs are required to register with the Ministry of magic, but many do not for fear of being treated badly by the wizarding community. Also there are the feelings of shame from being born into a wizarding family and later discovering they do not possess magic. By the way it is believed that Squibs are a result of the oldest wizarding families marrying only ‘pure bloods’. Sort of like marrying your first cousin. I was wondering how that would play into genetics?

    Hermione wonders how many Squibs have faded into the muggle society unnoticed by the Ministry of magic and tells Harry that Squibs could even possibly be kept secret by their family members, either out of shame or to protect them. So their actual numbers are possibly unknown, which is good, because in book seven Squibs and Muggle born and Muggles are targeted by Voldemort and tossed into Azkaban Prison, or even murdered.

    I would be interested in reading the interview that you are talking about Wrey. Do you have a link? I did read all the books, some of them more than once, but honestly I can’t remember reading about the discussion between Harry and Hermione. I will go back and take another look though. I’m going to shut up now that I’ve embarrassed myself beyond repair! In my defense, Caleb my son is the one who told me about the conversation between Harry and Hermione.
     
  13. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, Wrey, is this scientific analysis valid for proving paternity in child support magic payments?
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    ROFLMAO :D Ok, that got a serious laugh from me.

    It's a silly subject, to be sure. I mean really, The Genetics of Harry Potter...

    It just the kind of thing that sticks out to me when a small, and unnecessary error is made in a story, or as in this case, outside of the context of the cannon and instead during an interview with the author.

    Many, hyper-picky sci-fi readers tore Larry Niven apart when he wrote the Ringworld serious, citing scientific theory as to the inherent instability of such a construction as the Ringworld. He was savvy enough to work this to his favor and get a couple more Ringworld novels published in order to tackle the issues presented to him by his fans.
     
  15. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lmao, Wreybies. Do you know I love most though about this thread? We have been studying genetics in Science today, so I actually understand everything you said. I feel so smart XD
     
  16. de la vega
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    de la vega Member

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    I don't read the Harry Potter series, but this is an awesome thread Wrey. And you're so right. An author should take care of what he or she says in interviews, especially when it's an author who is so followed by the public as Rowling is.
     
  17. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pardon the misdirection but what does "XD" mean? Maybe it's some kind of new chromosome instead of XY???
     
  18. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a smiley. Kind of like when you smile so big you wrinkle your face up. Sort of.
     
  19. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    As in, Closed eyes and large grin. XD.
    Unless you were being sarcastic.
    Which you probably were.
    Shut up, Xeno.
     
  20. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Me? No, I am never sarcastic! Well, maybe on rare occasions...but in this case, I have seen the XD many times and it just never clicked with me. Figured I was just a bit slow...as I now see I was! LOL

    edit: sorry for the misdirection on this thread. Let's just call it a genetic anomaly!
     

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