Now Playing Tracks


Harry Potter wizarding genetics decoded

If the wizarding gene is dominant, as J.K. Rowling says in her famous series of Harry Potter books, then how can a wizard be born to muggle parents (non-magical people)? And how can there be squibs (non-magical people born into wizarding lines)?

It seems these baffling genetic questions have finally been answered, thanks to Andrea Klenotiz, a biology student at the University of Delaware.

In a six-page paper, which she sent to Rowling, Klenotiz outlines how the wizarding gene works and even explains why some witches and wizards are more powerful than others.

“Magical ability could be explained by a single autosomal dominant gene if it is caused by an expansion of trinucleotide repeats with non-Mendelian ratios of inheritance,” Klenotiz explains.

What does this mean?

In school we learn the fundamentals of genetics by studying Gregory Mendel’s pea plant experiments and completing basic Punnett squares. Basically, we’re taught that whenever one copy of a gene linked to a dominant trait is present, then the offspring will exhibit that dominant trait, regardless of the other gene.

However, Non-Mendelian genes don’t follow this rule, which is the basis of Klenotiz’s argument. She says that the wizarding gene could be explained if it’s caused by a trinucleotide repeat, which is the repetition of three nucleotides — the building blocks of DNA — multiple times.

These repeats can be found in normal genes, but sometimes many more copies of this repeated code can appear in genes than is standard, causing a mutation. This kind of mutation is responsible for genetic diseases like Huntington’s Disease. Depending upon how many of these repeats occur in the genes, a person could exhibit no symptoms, could have a mild form of the disease or could have a severe form of it.

In her paper, Klenotiz argues that eggs with high levels of these repeats are more likely to be fertilized, a phenomenon known as transmission ratio distortion. She also suggests that the egg or sperm with high levels of repeats is less likely to be created or to survive in the wizarding womb.

This argument answers several questions about wizarding genetics:

How can a wizard be born to muggle parents?

Genetic mutations can randomly appear, meaning anyone could be born with the wizarding gene. However, there’s a better chance of magical offspring occurring if the parents are on the high side of the normal range for mutations.

How can a squib be born to wizard parents?

Although parents with these mutated magical genes would be likely to pass the gene on to their children, there’s still a possibility that any given offspring might not inherit the trinucleotide repeat.

How can varying degrees of magical ability be explained?

The more repeats a wizard inherits, the stronger the magical power he or she will have. If both wizarding parents are powerful wizards, it’s likely their offspring will also be powerful.

You can read Klenotiz’s full paper on wizarding genetics here.

Far and away one of the nerdiest things I’ve ever read. Love it.

blog comments powered by Disqus

106,752 notes

via oh, my beautiful idiot
  1. brief-respite reblogged this from dream-on-darling
  2. wizard-of-fawz reblogged this from handsallover00
  3. for-mostly-giggles reblogged this from ace-and-pan-dont-give-a-shit
  4. papillon-cramoisi reblogged this from apocalypseobsessed
  5. 1001paperboxes reblogged this from lemonpaperfingers
  6. technicolorvhs reblogged this from emmanemmy
  7. ledeadface reblogged this from kandi-cora
  8. harrypotterheroicj reblogged this from que-la-chingada
  9. reverse-asian reblogged this from always-you-3
  10. anaondicola reblogged this from hollysuperwholock
  11. goodmourningu reblogged this from immovingbye
  12. looneyslovegood reblogged this from harrypotterhumor
  13. shamhatter reblogged this from agates-link
  14. broken-ice reblogged this from kuraicross
  15. thisisamorphinefueleddream reblogged this from beautyinitsessence
  16. beautyinitsessence reblogged this from asconstantasthenorthernstar
  17. pontious-pilates reblogged this from retrospectly
  18. no-fuckin-clue reblogged this from kuraicross
  19. kuraicross reblogged this from nikkinminaj
  20. hkkids reblogged this from benaddict-hiddleston
  21. benaddict-hiddleston reblogged this from oopsijohnlockedthetardis
  22. nikkinminaj reblogged this from miracleinc
  23. lightning247 reblogged this from theoddsareelementary
  24. miracleinc reblogged this from ryantheserialkillerguy
  25. ryantheserialkillerguy reblogged this from merriebear94
  26. kristiopia reblogged this from theunchartedlife
  27. merriebear94 reblogged this from theoddsareelementary
  28. apple-grass-and-smiles reblogged this from rapunzels-flowers
  29. i-willdefenestrateyou reblogged this from theoddsareelementary
We make Tumblr themes