Genetics Theory

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Author: Eilidh Arimath
Also see Revised Genetics Theory

Channeling Genetics

Ok, I am a biology major (just letting you guys know) and the thing I really dig is genetics (which is what we have recently been studying in biology). Well, doing punnet squares and multi-hybrid crosses got me thinking and what not in the wee hours this morning. What's up with the channeling trait?

In the Big White Book Jordan mentions that channeling is a recessive, genetic trait. That means lots of people could carry the gene to channel, but it is masked by the gene to NOT channel. It's like eye color. Dark (brown, black, hazel) is dominant over light (blue, green, gray). If people with dark eyes can CARRY the trait for light eyes, then the light eyes trait may pop up in a child or grandchild. Yes, I have a point, I'll come back to it in a bit.

Ok, so you've got the world of the Wheel of Time, and people that "have the spark" and those who can learn, and those who wouldn't recognize channeling if it bit them on the nose. I have several thoughts on channeling genetics:

  1. Channeling could be a sex-linked trait, like color-blindness. In sex-linked traits, certain traits are carried on the X and Y chromosomes. However, the Y is really a X that is missing a leg, and therefore missing information (explains a lot, doesn't it, ladies?). So, if the mother is carrying the recessive trait for color blindness or channeling or whatever it is, and the father donates his Y chromosome, the recessive trait shows up. However, if the same parents had a daughter, and the mother gave the recessive trait, the father would ALSO have to give the recessive trait for the trait to be manifested. Otherwise, that daughter would just be a trait carrier, because the dominate gene her father gave her would cover the recessive her mother gave her.
  2. Channeling is a regular (autosomal) recessive trait. This is where the eye color comparison comes into play. As I said before, eye color is recessive. Now, if you have a man and a woman BOTH with light eyes, the only gene type they can give is a recessive gene, or light eyes. If these two had a child with dark eyes, someone was unfaithful. Now, to compare it to channeling: if Rand and Elayne or Rand and Aviendha had children, and since both (or all three or however you want to look at it) can channel, ALL of their children should be able to channel. As for Rand and Min, perhaps only half of their children should be able to channel...it depends on Min's ability. Look at the Sea Folk... Channeling keeps following generations...
  3. However, there is also the possibility of channeling being a dominant autosomal trait. There is a trait for five digits per hand/foot (which is recessive) and the trait for more than five digits per hand/foot (which is actually dominate, just very spread out over the population....or so it was told to us in Biology). Now, with channeling being a dominant trait, you would only need one of the dominant genes to allow for channeling. Thus, in the Rand - Elayne - Aviendha match up, if all had the one dominant gene for channeling, and one recessive for NOT channeling, they COULD have mixture of children who can channel, or cannot channel. As for Rand and Min, it would really just depend on Min's ability, as Rand may only be able to give one channeling gene.
  4. (Last one, I'm pretty sure!) Ok, I think this is the theory I like best: channeling isn't really EXACTLY dominant or recessive...it's a mix of genetics. Like skin color or height: if your parents are tall, then you are going to be tall; if they are fair-skinned, then you will be too; if they are dark, you will be dark. However, this is just generalization. Tall parents can have short and medium height children. As for skin color, since it depends on several different chromosomes, two parents with a "good mix" on genes there could have children with skin color ranging from very light to very dark. I want to compare that with channeling. If one has more of the dominant (or recessive as the case may be) coding for the "channeling genes" then they are "sparked" or they can touch it, and will touch it, no matter what. If the genes are mixed, some dominant, some recessive, then they may be taught. The amount they have for channeling can also determine the strength of the channeler. Of course, the complete opposite is true as well: if a person has no genes for channeling, then they won't even be able to sense the Source, or see it being worked.

You can comment, or you can say "I don't care about genetics, so, that's great Eili" but hey, this is the two cents of a sleep-deprived girl!!

See also Revised Genetics Theory by Arythan Nieninqe.