i try to inject some science into amc’s preacher
yes, you heard it here folks… i’m gonna try and use my 3+ yrs of undergrad education to explain vampirism/cassidy’s immortality bc why not:
i’m gonna do a very lazy series of bullet points bc that’s as much as my brain will allow today. but if you have any questions for things i glossed over, just reply or hmu via IM!
- cassidy’s got extra totipotent stem cells ( can become ANY cell including placental cells ) stored up somewhere in his body–probably activated via some complex signaling mech./signal induction that definitely does not exist irl.
- the process of human –> vampire i guess is similar to a virus infecting a host?? in that the virus invades a host cell, gets it to make multiple replications of itself by injecting its own DNA or RNA into the host cell (instructing mRNA / messenger RNA if it is an RNA virus to replicate the virus OR w/ neg. stranded DNA/RNA, virus is produced via transcription –> translation )
- on a side note, this is not the same as the rather famous Turritopsis dohrnii / immortal jellyfish bc they’re immortal thru transdifferentiation and i’m not about to go and try to explain this in detail except that basically, they force their mature somatic cells ( any cell that’s not a reproductive cell ) to turn into different types of cells w/o an intermediate pluripotent cell stage ( can become any cell BUT placental cells ) so cool but also weird and confusing af
- ramblings aside, this explains his healing abilities–like salamanders/lizards, when tissue or cells are damaged, a signal is sent out and stem cells rush to the point of injury. this is known as complete regeneration. we humans, for the most part, only have incomplete regeneration, though the liver’s quite good at regen ( hence why ppl can donate like half their liver and still be A okay )
- for whatever reason, this “regen” signal cascade is fueled by blood in vamps. idk, still tryna figure this one out scientifically but it is what it is *insert shrug emoji here* i’m not even gonna try and wiggle a “real” answer to this so feel free to add on here if you wanna!!
- as for his immortality, this would be most likely due to his telomeres (the ends/”caps” of chromosomes that protect DNA from damage). in regular ppl, senescence/biological aging occurs bc our chromosomes become too short to divide– a result of our telomeres shortening.
- however, there is a reverse transcript enzyme known as telomerase that, as you might expect from the name, is able to replace telomeres. stem cells exhibit high levels of telomerase– which feeds back into what i explained above! bc cassidy has these extra amounts of stem cells, they no doubt help him in his whole non-aging process. unfortunately, telomerase is also present in cancer/tumor cells… so it’s not all good things and, if left unchecked, can cause excessive + abnormal cell growth
but this is a fictional universe and everything works perfectly so cassidy is basically indestructible
- in regards to sunlight, perhaps the rays mess up the whole process? both the aging and regeneration? idk guys, there isn’t much science in why UV light would make a person burst into flames otherwise
other than spontaneous combustion but that’s not exactly scientific. my best guess is that UV light/radiation disrupts these mechanisms and causes rapid necrosis ( due to injury from the sunlight ) as well as rapid apoptosis ( programmed cell death ).