So yesterday in Genetics lecture, we learned about something called “incomplete penetrance”. Basically, it’s when not all individuals with a certain allele display that trait, even if logic says they should. Normally I don’t share my class notes with the Internet because frankly I doubt anyone wants to see them. But the example our professor gave us was polydactyly. Naturally, when he explained this and showed us a picture, my first thought was:
Let me explain why I’m bringing this up.
I just sort of assumed that Ford had six fingers due to an in utero mutation (a spontaneous mutation of an embryo while it’s still developing), because polydactyly, or having additional phalanges, is a dominant trait. If a child has it, one of their parents does too. Like inheriting brown vs blue eyes. But it turns out that polydactyly isn’t that simple.
In order to be a polydactyl, you need at least one copy of the dominant allele (let’s call it “P”; the recessive allele is “p”). If you have extra fingers you either have two copies (PP) or one copy (Pp). If you have no copies (pp), you have five fingers on each hand. However, only about 3/5 of people with either PP or Pp actually have extra phalanges. Roughly 2/5 of people with PP or Pp have the normal number of fingers.
I promise I have a point.
And here it is: Most of us have been assuming that Stan and Ford are fraternal, rather than identical, twins. This is not just because of the whole “polydactyly” thing but also because of this:
Ford has a cleft chin, Stan doesn’t. Now, my first thought was “okay but Stan could have a cleft chin, it could just be understated for the sake of simplicity, or telling them apart”. But after a bit of research, I found something out. A cleft chin is like polydactyly: it’s the dominant trait, but has incomplete penetrance.
The two things that everyone thought meant they weren’t identical have no meaning. They could still be identical genetically, it was just some weird twist of fate that made them appear to be fraternal. And if they are identical after all?
Ford isn’t the only anomaly.
In incomplete penetrance, only a minority of people with a dominant allele do not display the dominant trait. Stan is a part of that minority. Ford is weird as hell (that kind of post-axial polydactyly is rare on one hand, let alone two), and from a scientific standpoint, so is Stan. Not displaying a dominant trait when you have the dominant allele is abnormal.
Does anyone else just examine the marvel that is the human body (not in a sexual way). Like, I’m sitting here right now moving my fingers and watching my ligaments tense and loosen as they pull on the bones that compose the phalanges of my hand. Certain finger positions cause divots to form between the ligaments, while balling a fist causes them to be almost even with the flesh of my hand.
Sorry for the weird ramble. I just find how all the parts of the human body work and fit together to be absolutely fascinating.
I’ve been at my current registrar job for about two years. My predecessor had held the position for 45+years, and during that time had set aside a number of boxes that they deigned not ready for cataloging for one reason or another. Some had been sitting there for more than 15 years. Like, these boxes came in when flip-phones were advanced technology and jorts were haute couture.
Anyway, I am working my way through these boxes, and most of them are filled with nondescript items that are just happy someone is finally paying them some long overdue love and respect.
Cut to yesterday, where I open a box after carefully reviewing the accession documentation and find a human phalange.
Yup, just a finger bone, hanging out with a pile of modern tourist trade baskets and knick knacks from all across the world! The files do not reference this item in any way, shape, or form so I am left with a random finger bone with no associated culture, provenance, or identifiable data that could lead to repatriation, and the donor is deceased with no heirs to contact.
The proper immediate reaction is this:
And this is why you process collections in a timely manner, people!
Would you snuzzle him? I totally would, he’s harmless enough. He’s only dangerous in the way psychosis is dangerous. Or maybe a bad houseguest.
Another reason I love him so much is because he really makes you think. You wonder what happened to him, how he got that way, exactly what goes through his mind that we don’t understand. I love how he brings out the inner psychologist in us.
I’m training to be a doctor. Not an alien doctor, a proper doctor. A doctor of medicine. Well that certainly is nonsense. Women might train to be doctors, but hardly a skivvy and hardly one of your colour. Oh, do you think? Bones of the hand. Carpal bones, proximal row. Scaphoid, lunate, triquetal, pisiform. Distal row. Trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate. Then the metacarpal bones extending in three distinct phalanges. Proximal, middle, distal.
J’aime ces êtres humains qui ont des cernes, les cheveux en bataille, les lèvres gercés, des cicatrices sur les mains, les phalanges rougies, la voix cassée, une clope entre les lèvres. On dirait qu’ils se foutent de savoir s’ils vont mourir un jour ou non, s’il y a une fin cachée. Ça leur donne un petit ai r négligé, et leur apporte ce mystérieux charme, gravé dans leur âme amochée, fissurée, cet air nonchalant. Je trouve ça séduisant.
Cute Soriel Headcanons:
-When they’re cuddling together, or huddled in bed and Sans has trouble sleeping, he’ll fiddle with Toriel’s horns, running his phalanges along the base, transfixed. Toriel thinks it’s odd at first, until she realizes that her horns are technically part of her skull/exposed bones.
-Toriel prefers using fire magic to dry herself off after a shower, but Sans really enjoys blow drying and brushing her fur, so she lets him get away with it every other day. Preferably if it’s before bed, because the rhythmic motion makes her drowsy.
-Toriel becomes addicted to audiobooks once she learns she can store them on her phone (its no match for that old book smell, but it’s just so convenient!). She and Sans fall asleep listening to 1001 snail facts (well, Sans does at least. Toriel can stay up till midnight learning about snails).