A Double Norn Case Study: Part II

A Deeper Look at the Genetics of a Double Case StudyThe Norn case study continues! In the first part, we got a taste for some of the mutations that Atalo and Atalos are living with. I promised a much more in-depth post with more genetics, and here we are! Chemical receptors and emitters are very important for various functions. Often a minor change in one of these genes results in a much different effect. Indeed, as soon as I checked in on the two again, Atalo had fallen into a sleep from which he could not wake himself. While he slept indefinitely and Atalos looked on sadly with an apple in his hand, I jumped right into the wonderful land of mutations with the Genetics Kit and Creatures Wiki as a reference!

Receptors (Both)

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.

Original: 3 Emb B MutDupCut Organ# = 0, Creature, Drives, Hunger for protein, chem=Hunger for protein, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=209, features=Analogue (0)
Mutation: 3 Chi B MutDupCut Organ# = 0, Creature, Drives, Hunger for protein, chem=Hunger for protein, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=209, features=Analogue (0)

As with a lot of genes, feel free to ignore a lot of the technical terminology! To simplify this gene, think of it as the definition of how the hunger for protein drive is recognized. It basically states that the hunger for protein chemical determines the hunger for protein drive. Not too bad, even with all of those parameters! The mutation means that it will not kick on until childhood, which is actually quite bad. When in the baby life stage, Atalo and Atalos could truly be hungry for protein, but without the drive, their bodies might not actually recognize this need. Remember that Atalos is stuck in the child life stage, so he has no trouble. Atalo, on the other hand, is stuck as a baby and this gene will never switch on. He can’t properly recognize when he needs protein, which could lead to malnourishment or even worse.

Original: 33 Emb B MutDupCut Organ# = 1, Current Reaction, No Tissue, Reaction Rate, chem=Triglyceride, thresh=16, nom=225, gain=26, features=Inverted Analogue (0)
Mutation: 33 Chi B MutDupCut Organ# = 1, Current Reaction, No Tissue, Reaction Rate, chem=Triglyceride, thresh=16, nom=225, gain=26, features=Inverted Analogue (0)

More gibberish! We’re only concerned with what the mutation will do, though, so despite there being a lot of information about this gene, we won’t dive into the specifics. In a nutshell, this is one of the genes involved with the digestion of fat. Even I need to do a little more research to figure out exactly how this works, but the only difference is the life stage… Again. Atalos is fine because he is a child, but Atalo will never reach this life stage. Effectively, he doesn’t have the ability to properly digest fat. First the protein issue, and now this! And we haven’t even gotten to his issue with starch (carb).

Original: 189 Chi B Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become an adolescent, chem=Life, thresh=194, nom=116, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital (0)
Mutation: 189 Chi B MutDupCut Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become an adolescent, chem=Life, thresh=141, nom=116, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital (0)

Here is one of the genes concerned with life stages. Interestingly enough, the genomes of Atalo and Atalos have all of the life stage genes locked in (no mutate, duplicate, nor cut) except for this one. Norns often get stuck in a life stage when at least one goes “out of order”. What do I mean by that? Each life stage is triggered when the aging (or life) chemical reaches a certain threshold. Normally, this is defined as 229 for childhood, 194 for adolescence, 165 for youth, 136 for adulthood, 19 for old age, and 10 for senility. Notice that these are descending in order. This mutation changes the order so that it goes 229, 141, 165, and so on. Notice the problem? Life stages must occur in order, and this breaks that rule. It explains why Atalos is stuck in childhood, and will never go into the next life stage. Atalo should have experienced the same issue, yet he’s stuck as a baby. My guess is that we’ll uncover something else, or all of his dead organs have somehow warped his aging. It might even be the case that he’ll become a child much later on, as I discovered a rather scary thing about him! More on that soon enough…

Original: 304 You B MutDupCut Organ# = 17, Creature, Circulatory, Floating receptor/emitter 18, chem=Stress (Fear), thresh=128, nom=0, gain=255, features=Digital (0)
Mutation: 304 You B MutDupCut Organ# = 17, Brain, 01: verb, Cell 4 (come) – state 2, chem=Stress (Fear), thresh=128, nom=0, gain=255, features=Digital (0)

Even though neither of these Norns will reach the youth life stage, this is still a pretty major mutation! Normally this gene states that the stress chemical from fear affects the floating receptor 18. “Floating” is an entirely unique concept that requires an in-depth explanation. Suffice to say that it’s important! In this case, floating receptor 18 has been replaced with the brain cell for the “come” verb. What exactly does this mean? I’m not entirely sure! It would seem to indicate that the stress chemical for fear would trigger the brain to randomly recognize or “hear” the word “come”… It makes no sense, but oftentimes mutations have absolutely no logic behind their randomness!

Original: 306 You B MutDupCut Organ# = 17, Creature, Circulatory, Floating receptor/emitter 16, chem=Stress (H4F), thresh=128, nom=0, gain=254, features=Digital (0)
Mutation: 306 You B MutDupCut Organ# = 17, Creature, Circulatory, Floating receptor/emitter 16, chem=Stress (H4F), thresh=128, nom=0, gain=254, features=Inverted Digital (0)

For reference, H4F stands for “hunger for fat” and this is a stress-related chemical. The C3 chemical list is certainly a useful reference! This mutation adds in the inverted parameter, which basically turns everything upside down. In other words, this chemical usually increases floating receptor 16 so that it properly recognizes that there is stress from hunger for fat. Now it does the opposite: Having this stress chemical present actually reduces floating receptor 16. We’re in another situation where this will do nothing to these two Norns, since they’ll never become two youths… Or “two yutes” according to My Cousin Vinny and this terrible movie quoter over here!

Original:326 You B MutDupCut Organ# = 17, Creature, Circulatory, Floating receptor/emitter 10, chem=Tiredness, thresh=204, nom=0, gain=255, features=Digital (0)
Mutation:326 You B MutDupCut Organ# = 17, Creature, Circulatory, Floating receptor/emitter 10, chem=Sleepiness, thresh=204, nom=0, gain=255, features=Digital (0)

Yet another gene that won’t affect Atalo and Atalos due to their life stages! Just a quick note that this one states that floating receptor 10 is usually tied to tiredness, but this mutation changes it to sleepiness. A rather unfortunate mixup, since tiredness and sleepiness are actually two completely different drives. They are related, but they’re definitely not one in the same.

Receptors (Atalos)

Missing: 105 Emb B MutDupCut Organ# = 5, Creature, Sensorimotor, Involuntary action 0, chem=Pain, thresh=48, nom=0, gain=255, features=Digital (0)

One unique feature of Atalos is the fact that he’s missing the gene that controls the flinch action. A typical Norn will flinch from pain when slapped, or when pain reaches the threshold of 48. Atalos doesn’t actually flinch, although he can still feel pain and suffer its consequences, like becoming injured and wounded. We’ll just say that he pretends to be a tough guy!

Emitters (Both)

Chemical emitters define specific conditions within a Creature in order to affect chemicals. Some examples include experiencing stress from excessive drives, becoming cold due to environmental conditions, and more.

Original: 103 Emb B MutDupCut Organ# = 5, Creature, Sensorimotor, Permanently active, chem=Sleepiness, thresh=0, samp=35, gain=4, features=Digital (0)
Mutation: 103 Emb B MutDupCut Organ# = 5, Brain, 04: Unknown, Cell 0 – state 0, chem=Sleepiness, thresh=0, samp=35, gain=4, features=Digital (0)

Here lies the issue with sleepiness in both Atalo and Atalos. In the standard genome, this gene states that there is a permanently active sensorimotor tied into the sleepiness chemical. In other words, there is something in a Norn that always recognizes the sleepiness chemical. For Atalo and Atalos, things took a very odd turn! Don’t even attempt to unravel what that means, because it’s utter nonsense. I suspect that this is the reason why Atalo can’t wake up on his own. I haven’t seen Atalos fall asleep, but I suspect he would suffer from the same issue.

Emitters (Atalos)

Original: 215 You F MutDupCut Organ# = 12, Creature, Reproductive, I am fertile, chem=Estrogen, thresh=158, samp=2, gain=3, features=Inverted Digital (0)
Mutation: 215 You F MutDupCut Organ# = 12, Creature, Reproductive, I am fertile, chem=47, thresh=158, samp=2, gain=3, features=Inverted Digital (0)

This gene only affects females and Atalos has no chance of passing it along since he’s stuck as a child. However, it’s a perfect example of how a rather serious mutation can enter a population without ever knowing it. This one simply states that a female Norn is fertile when her estrogen chemical reaches a certain threshold. The mutation changes this to an undefined chemical, and would thereby make any female infertile and unable to have children. Had Atalos been able to age correctly, he easily could have had a bunch of infertile daughters, and this could have led to a possible decline in the population. This might have been inherited, though, in which case any sisters might run the risk of being infertile.

Watching Chemicals Stand Still in a Peculiar Norn

I thought that the phenomenon pictured above was exclusive to Atalo when he was sleeping, but I confirmed that the graph looked identical when he was awake. The typical situation is for these chemicals to fluctuate, particularly air and oxygen! As far as I could tell from multiple screens, Atalo had absolutely nothing going on in his body when it came to chemicals. As Ava asked in the first part’s comments, shouldn’t Atalo be dead since all of his organs no longer functioned? I suppose this is a case of a zombie Norn, or at least something very similar to one! Recall again that all of his organs died because the gene that produces prostaglandin (a chemical to heal organs) was mutated to switch on during childhood. Even the genes associated withe life stage changes are linked to an organ which died. I think this is the reason why Atalo never made it to childhood, but Atalos did.

A Norn and a Lack of Sleepiness RecognitionJust to confirm my suspicions, I graphed the sleepiness chemical while Atalo was still stuck asleep. Even at a value of zero, he still fell asleep from time to time. I managed to wake him up briefly before he launched into another nap… Then we repeated the process until he was finally conscious again! However, I wonder how fulfilling life is for him. His body pretty much died long ago, yet he still continues to exist in a rather unusual state. In Creatures 1, genes are not tied to organs, so they really can’t cease to exist. With the introduction of organs linked with genes, the possibility exists for this scenario with Atalo. Neither genetic structure is better or worse, but they each pose their own challenges. Atalo would have done much better with the C1 genetics!

Identifying the Special Needs of Mutated NornsThere is still more to come with the final part of this case study, but I suppose that’s enough for now! This has gotten me thinking about genes that would kill a Creature after the death of a vital organ… It may sound morbid, but Atalo’s situation seems worse! How is a Norn really supposed to be considered alive if his or her brain, heart, and lungs are dead? Thanks again to Wolpertinger for this pair of Norns! I’m certainly thinking more and learning a lot about how C3/DS genetics differ from the landscape of C1 genetics that I’m so accustomed to. In the end, though, there are a lot of similarities. Stop by soon for the conclusion to this case study!

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