Things I'm thinking about after attending class today:
So in season one of Heroes, Chandra Suresh is able to track and predict the emergence or the presence of individuals with Abilities based on information from the Human Genome Project.
Chandra and Mohinder’s list of names is obviously incomplete, first of all. This can be said, in part, to be due to the fact that not everyone is part of the Human Genome Project, and he was therefore only able to spot people who
because that was the dataset he was using.
HOWEVER, it’s also true that he was working off data collected and research performed in the sixties – our genetic science back then was nowhere near what it is now. I propose, therefore, that the gene he was able to track was NOT, in fact, the Ability gene, but another gene located very near to it. (Genes that are near to each-other are more likely to be kept together during meiosis, and can be used as predictors for genes causing genetic disorders so that diagnostic tests can be performed for those disorders even when the specific genes associated with them have not been identified.) After all, Nathan Petrelli was found by Suresh’s research to have the gene, but in fact only had an Ability due to having been injected with The Company’s Synthetic Ability formula.
So. There is a gene, located very close to the one that Chandra Suresh was able to identify during his work at Coyote Sands, that somehow affects the adrenal glands in a specific way that causes Abilities to manifest. This genetic feature is not strictly required; the conditions it causes in the adrenal system can be artificially induced, and when they are, an Ability is manifested and remains (so far as can be seen in the series) permanently.
Its patterns of inheritance are another thing. Let’s make a blanket assumption that it’s a Mendelian trait governed by a single gene. Because that makes all of this a lot simpler. Possibly less correct, but simpler anyway.
Let us make a small case study of Micah Sanders and Nathan Petrelli. So far as we know, Micah has one parent with the allele for Abilities (D.L. Hawkins), and one parent without it (Niki Sanders, whose Ability is synthetic). Micah, therefore, could only have inherited one copy of the allele from his father – his mother does not have the allele.
But wait, you say, what if she does have a copy of the allele, but it’s recessive and Abilities only manifest when the individual has two copies?
Well, on to Nathan Petrelli. His parents, Angela Petrelli and Arthur Petrelli, both have Abilities. Since they’ve both had their abilities longer than the synthetic Ability formula has existed, we can be reasonably sure that this means they both have the genetic features that cause Abilities to arise naturally. IF the allele for abilities was submissive, it would only express in individuals with two copies of the gene. Well, if Angela Petrelli and Arthur Petrelli both had two copies, then Nathan would have had two copies as well, without fail.
If abilities were recessive and Angela and Arthur were both homozygous ‘aa’, then neither of their children could possibly end up as 'Aa’ or 'AA’, except by unlikely mutation.
If Abilities were dominant, then Angela and Arthur could both be heterozygous 'Aa’, and Peter could have the 'Aa’ or 'AA’ genotype and manifest a natural Ability, and Nathan could have the 'aa’ genotype and be born without an Ability.
So say the allele for abilities is dominant, and both Angela and Arthur are only heterozygous for it (only have one copy). Only in this situation, assuming it’s a Mendelian trait, is it possible for Nathan not to have inherited it.
side note: since Angela and her sister Alice both had the gene, it’s quite likely that one of their parents also had it. More on this later.
second side note: given the information we have, the more likely circumstance, i think, is that the inheritance is NOT Mendelian, but I only know the workings of Mendelian inheritance so far, so let’s keep playing pretend.
The ultimate source of all genetic diversity is mutation. The allele for Abilities absolutely first arose due to a random mutation, and can and will do so again. Two parents who don’t have even a single copy of the allele between them can have a child who does have it.
The series also shows us that the onset of an Ability can come at any point in life and, it appears, either at random or in response to a specific circumstance. A child who appears to have developed the allele as a random mutation could, in fact, have a parent who had a copy of the allele who simply… never encountered the correct circumstances to make the Ability express. Whether a person tans, freckles, or burns, for example, is genetic – but if the parents never went out in the sun at all, it would be silly to confidently assume that the child’s freckles are due to mutation. It’s perfectly possible that one or both of their parents would freckle if they were ever exposed to the sun like their child.
Abilities also appear to have a stage between latent and active. In this stage, its possible for the individual not to be aware of them – certainly at this stage they’re not yet able to control them. This stage, too, can begin at any point in life.
important note: the sort of inner workings of how Abilities manifest and express is something that’s maybe a bit excessive for me to start talking about now, especially because it’s fictional and not very well-thought-out in canon besides. So let’s move away from that subject.
It could be asserted that Adam Monroe is a common ancestor of many of the people in the series who have Abilities, since he’s the earliest example we’ve seen and he’s certainly lived long enough to pass on his genes. A lot. The graphic novels say that he only ever had two children that he knew about, but that’s. That he knew about. He was not such a virtuous man that he couldn’t have had a number of children he didn’t know of.
Aaaah oh my god i’ve been working on this for like two hours??? enough. enough. no more. goodbye. homework now.
as frustrated and disappointed as i get about heroes’ downwards spiral, i will forever love the fact that peter “i wanna save the world” petrelli decides to become an emt. Look, I just enjoy Peter Petrelli’s psychology in general. look at this child. look how messed up he is, look how desperate he is
Expanding on my previous post, I think Arthur’s ability to not only copy abilities but also to steal them, to take them away, is a sort of solipsism. Like, he sees and understands their individual self, and then he rejects it. He says, on some level, “I see you, but I don’t think you’re a real person. Everything in this world is just a reflection of me, therefore so are you, therefore these powers are mine because you don’t have a self, you don’t have a soul.”
I see that particular function of Arthur’s power as the worst kind of violation. (I also think it’s like Jeremy’s healing power, and that with the right mindset (a mindset impossible for Arthur), and with enough power and experience, an individual with that power could also make people manifest powers. And that Peter’s ability could - in theory - be like his father’s, because it’s an extension of the same power… except that Peter as an individual would reject the idea of violating someone that way or rejecting their personhood like that, and so his ability, too, would reject the act of stealing power on a soul-deep level.)
Can you tell that I have thought about this way too much?
Question :D I have been watching Heroes, and I'm almost finished season 4. BUT what do you think of Nathan Petrelli? Love, hate, other random emotion, etc?
Hmmm… Well, as a character I don’t like him as much as, say, Peter.
I think he tries to be a good person, and sometimes he’s a really great man, but — he’s also an asshole, especially when it comes to his personal life decisions. Like, either he’s a really great brother or a kind of shitty one, never just reliably *good*. And, well, I think we’ve all known people like that at some point?
I think he’s a very interesting character, and I also think he suffered a bit from inconsistent writing and characterization. I think everyone did. It felt like a lot of the writing in seasons two and three was… not at a high enough reading level? If that makes sense?
Like, the man was valedictorian; he should be pretty smart. And— I just finished re-watching the eclipse in S3, and there’s this bit where he talks to the Haitian girl who’s being held prisoner in the same building he is? And he jumps from “I have to do something to help these people" straight to “superpowered army, that’s the answer!“
I shouted at the screen the first time I saw that. Like come ON, you’re a senator! You have more resources to hand than just muscle!
That’s bizarre. The man was ADA for New York, and he’s a smart guy - you’d think he’d have a very good understanding of the fact that brute force just won’t work against this problem, not in any sort of long term. It’s like picking zits — it looks like it’ll help at first, but all that clawing at your skin is only gonna make you break out worse in a day or two.
I’m getting sidetracked, but uh. Yeah, I felt like the writers in S2/S3 were not as smart as the characters they were writing. They just didn’t have the understanding of law and political philosophy that a Senator in his forties would. (Well, should.) And I think Nathan’s one of the people that came of the worst for that in some places.
And I dunno what I’m even getting at anymore, so I am gonna stop and hit publish.
Ohmanohoman! Hero Abilities as emergent Ancestor genes in the populace!! The secretly Asgard inducing expression to help prepare Earth for the Goa’uld!!! SG-1 tries to quarantine them at first, thinking they’re Goa’uld sleeper agents!!!!
SGC personnel heading out to deal with an EH incident because they think it must be alien shenanigans and clashing with the Primatech people already there!!
Nathan meeting Senator Kinsey and not liking him ONE BIT!!!
Future Peter coming back in time and saying “okay, I know this is gonna sound weird, but you have to join the Air Force” like yeah that is pretty out of the blue, like haven’t all my other future selves been terrorists?!!
SGC COMBAT MEDIC PETER PETRELLI (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
man Peter and Claire wouldn’t even make a good couple. lbr here they are terrible and they would be ridiculous and neither of them would be any good at preventing the other from making Really Poor Life Choices
they are too alike and they share some major faults like hotheadedness and naive trust in other people
and also Claire’s codependency and Peter’s flakiness are a match made in the fiery pits of hades
but!!! I don’t care!!! It’s too late for me, save yourselves!!! It could be such a beautiful trainwreck!!! Aaahhh, I want to see them being terrible influences and not improving each other at all and being really bad at everything!!!
Even though their relationship is perfectly appropriate (unfortunately), I feel that Peter makes the mistake of looking at Claire and seeing a woman, an adult, instead of a teenager.
He treats her like an equal, which would be great under normal circumstances, because being treated like an intellectual equal by adults is the best thing.
But their circumstances are not normal. Their circumstances involve lots of pain and danger and death. And as a teenager, Claire needs people to depend on – not to bedepended on. She still has growing up to do; she needs safety, security. She’s still figuring out who she is, what she stands for.
Peter consistently fails to understand this. It’s a problem.
this message brought to you by the What The Hell Peter You Do Not Just Ask A Teenage Girl To Shoot Her Hero Point-Blank In The Head To Save The World That’s Awful And The Pressure Is Even More Awful What The Hell Is Wrong With You foundation
I thought this was obvious, but the wiki says it isn’t. So I’m gonna explain what I think happened to cause the 5YG timeline.
In this timeline, Hiro did not appear to tell Peter “save the cheerleader, save the world”. As a result, Isaac and Peter aren’t certain that the paintings are real, don’t have the urgency that pushed Peter to look for the last painting and possibly convinced Simone to show it to him.
Peter is not there to save Claire. However, she still survives. Isaac was brought in by the company, and Mr. Bennet was there with Eden and Renee, as in canon. Jackie was killed, and Claire was able to run and escape. Sylar did not get her power, but not having been thrown off the roof with Peter, he manages to escape.
Back in New York, the rest of the gang hear of a cheerleader killed at Union Wells High’s homecoming game. They believe they failed to avert the paintings. For a time, no-one thinks much of it. Certainly they don’t think the fate of the world rested on it, and Isaac painted plenty of other things they couldn’t possibly have prevented.
Meanwhile, the rest of the plot that doesn’t involve Peter and Claire meeting continues to run basically as expected, and there’s no real way to predict in-betweens so I’ll just jump to volcano day.
Sylar can’t regenerate, but he CAN create illusions. He’s run into Candace in the interim, and taken her power. In New York, Hiro attempts to kill Sylar – but Sylar is pulling an Aizen, making himself appear to be Peter and vice-versa. Hiro stabbed Peter, and it’s Peter that explodes. Hiro manages to teleport the survivors of the bomb away – Niki, ‘Peter’, perhaps Mr. Bennet?
Without Peter at Union Wells, Sylar escaped and had time to get Candace’s power. With Sylar escaped instead of in custody, Claire is hidden instead of eventually brought to her grandmother by Renee. With Peter and Claire unacquainted and Claire not in New York, Nathan isn’t there to fly his exploding brother up to the sky – it was Claire that changed his mind in canon.
I guess the point is that I think Niki and Hiro and whoever thought that Sylar was stabbed and Sylar regenerated and Sylar was the bomb, but it was Peter all along. Hiro thought Sylar killed the cheerleader and gained regeneration, but he was WRONG. Sylar killed Candace and Peter and Claire didn’t know each other, THAT was the key. He changed the past based on INCORRECT INFORMATION, and it only worked because he got REALLY FREAKING LUCKY with the butterfly effect.