This Creatures 2 Norn is Azuria, a female based on the mother’s genome from this discussion. Before beginning, I highly recommend reading through part I of the analysis of this Creatures 2 family. The genetics of the mother and father are invaluable to understand where any mutations have occurred. The catalyst for this study was the first child of these two Norns. Charley noticed that he aged very quickly, and died of old age at just a few minutes old. Now, to find out just why that happened from a genetics standpoint!
As another visual, I hatched a male based on the father’s genome. He was named Cobalt. It definitely looks like this family was part of a selectively bred population! Not only did they both show off a very striking and unique pigment scheme, but they also had identical appearances. I let them enjoy some time together near the incubator, where Azuria became quite the studious Norn, and Cobalt preferred to be a little more aloof. They immediately took to one another, though, like a true life bonded pair!
Did Cobalt go an amazing adventure and find himself on the opposite side of Albia? Not quite! This male has the genome of the first son, who sparked this genetics analysis. I named him Endar. He is actually an adult in this image, but his age should have said otherwise! He was only a few minutes old, and already Endar was rapidly going through his life stages. He was a very inquisitive Norn, and seemed very open to exploring. It was bittersweet, for he would see a lot of the world, but only had a few minutes to enjoy it all. Time to look at his genetics.
Chemical receptors define parameters for a certain chemical. When these parameters are met, an element in the Creature is affected. These genes can increase drives, define life stages, control fertility, and more.
624 Ado F MutDupCut Organ#=0 Creature, Reproductive, receptive to sperm if > 0, chem=LH, thresh=59, nom=10, gain=255, features=Analogue
This gene only affects female Norns, so it will have no bearing on this first son. However, it is used to indicate when a female is receptive to sperm, based on the level of LH present in her system. The standard nominal value is 44, while this mutation has changed it to 10. This nominal value is a little more complex to understand: It is the base value sent to the locus when the threshold is not reached. So, when there are less than 59 units of LH present, the specified locus will receive a signal of 10. I haven’t yet understood if this reproductive locus is either on or off, or if it can have many different values. If so, it would seem that any females with this gene would have a more difficult time of becoming pregnant in their non-peak times.
Chemical reactions define rules for individual chemicals and chemical combinations. These genes can also state the rules for how chemicals are used up, and each reaction has a defined half-life to determine how often it occurs.
353 Emb B MutDupCut Organ#=0 1*Ageing => 6*Amino Acid + 1*Pain; half-life=80
And so we find the nasty culprit responsible for the fast aging! Normally, this gene converts one unit of muscle tissue into amino acid and pain. This is part of the digestive process, as evidenced in the biochemistry pathway. Amino acids can be produced directly from protein, and they are needed for the production of various tissues, such as muscle. Excess muscle tissue can be broken back down into amino acids, should they be needed for other processes in the body. This gene is part of a pair, though, so that muscle tissue can be converted into amino acid, but amino acid can also be converted into muscle tissue. With enough protein and other food sources, neither type of chemical or tissue will completely run out.
This mutation replaces muscle tissue with aging. This chemical is used to regulate a Norn’s life cycle. As it falls throughout their lives and reaches certain levels, they enter each progressive life stage. Normally, aging simply declines due to its half-life, and it is not used up in any chemical reactions. This mutation causes it to constantly be converted into amino acid and pain. Since there is no way to replenish aging, the Norn’s body will use it as quickly as possible until none of it remains. This explains the rapid progression through the life stages.
This graph poignantly illustrates Endar’s genetic problem. The life chemical, also known as aging, usually falls at a very slow rate so that Norns can live for several hours before passing away from old age. Death is instantaneous when this chemical falls to a value of zero. One can easily see the rapid deterioration of the life chemical in Endar. I had expected his amino acids to be very high, but I failed to graph a few other chemicals which they were being converted into. The spikes in pain were a result of walking into walls, which is something we all are familiar with! Notice that after it leveled out, Endar still experienced a significant amount of pain. This was due to this mutation, and the fact that the reaction was constantly taking place inside him.
Indeed, at just two minutes old, Endar was a strong and very fertile adult! This graph began tracking him at just about the time of birth, so he would have become a youth at approximately one minute old. Just because a Norn quickly progresses through every life stage does not mean that anything else is automatically broken. If any fertile females had been in the vicinity, Endar easily could have passed along his genes. Although this might have been a nice experience, I did not want to run the risk of any other Norns inheriting this gene. Endar’s rapid aging had already hurt him in the learning process, for he was unable to learn all he should have as a baby and a child. I tried to let him make the most of his existence, though. Even though he was mostly a science experiment, I wanted him to have a little fun during his short life. He ate, took a swim, played the guitar, and saw some of the prettiest sights in Albia.
Before long, the level of life chemical in Endar had quickly dwindled down. I also added muscle tissue to the graph, since it seemed interesting that it was at its maximum value. Since amino acids are converted into muscle tissue, I had a feeling that a lot of this excess was converted into muscle tissue. With a steady stream of it, there was no reason for his body to break muscle tissue back into even more amino acids. I probably could have learned much more from a multitude of graphs, but it was evident that time was short. The decline in Endar’s life chemical had slowed, yet it was still progressing quite quickly. Notice, too, how he was always in some pain. Luckily, Endar didn’t seem to mind all that much, but it was still a trifle depressing to see. He was adapting, though it seemed rather uncomfortable.
Just like that, Endar passed away in a comfortable mound of sand. He was a very curious adventurer, and one who might have actually traversed Albia, had his mutation not held him back. Many genes can undergo mutations without having much of an effect, yet there will always be some Norns who are handed a lousy hand in the genetics game. The nice thing about Endar was that he knew no differently, and acted as if every moment of those fifteen minutes of his life was the best. Did I get attached to him? Naturally! What a unique little guy. Farewell, Endar.
Fortunately, Endar’s brothers and sisters do not appear to have this mutation. An analysis of their genes will be the focus of the final part of this case study. Studying Creatures genetics is often very fun, but it can have sad endings, like that of Endar. Hopefully this discussion has been helpful. More importantly, I hope Endar will be remembered as not just the focus of a documentary, but as a funny little Norn who lived every moment like it was his last.