Over two months ago, Lauren politely asked me to take a look at one of her Norns who was a little different than the rest. Naturally, between my absence and forgetfulness, I needed another reminder! Again, I’d like to apologize to Lauren for the long wait, but fortunately, this has turned into a short case study! The subject this time around is Berose, a second generation female with a Bengal des Neiges and Magma Norn appearance. Her appearance was a pleasant surprise when I first imported her! Can you guess what is so interesting about her?
At over two hours old, Berose was still in the baby life stage! What makes this more interesting is that second generation Norns typically don’t have a lot of mutations, and many of these are usually minor. My initial thought was that the half life of her life chemical had been altered, so that it degraded slower and kept her in each life stage longer. It seemed plausible, but was it actually the answer?
After a quick analysis, which involved singling out the life chemical, I determined that nothing about this had changed. Indeed, if it had changed, it would have been significant: Berose was still a baby after two hours! If one looks long enough and has an idea of what to look for, things usually pop out. And in Gene Compare, I soon stumbled across the guilty gene. Take a look at the following, with Berose’s gene on top and the typical gene underneath.
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.
188 Emb B MutDupCut Organ # = 10, Creature, Circulatory, Floating receptor/emitter 0, chem=Life, thresh=229, nom=119, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
188 Emb B MutDupCut Organ # = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become a child, chem=Life, thresh=229, nom=119, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
This is the exact gene which determines when a baby Norn becomes a child. In fact, there are similar genes associated with each life stage. Clearly, Berose has a problem with this gene, where it appears that a mutation caused the tissue and locus to be changed. Effectively, this gene will not function. Had the mutation changed the threshold or other value, Berose would have been able to mature through each life stage, only becoming a child at a slightly different point.
In this screenshot, the text version of the gene can better be understood in the Genetics Kit. I also was baffled as to what the locus of floating recep-emit 0 corresponded with. It took a little time, but I found out that it normally matched up with adipose tissue in gene 154! Adipose tissue is simply long-term fat storage, but it appears that Berose’s body also receives information from her level of life chemical. I have yet to delve very deep into Creatures 3/Docking Station genetics, so even I’m a little stumped as to what effect, if any, this will have on her adipose tissue receptor and emitter. Lauren mentioned that Berose had stopped eating, although it only took a little encouragement for her to stuff her mouth once she was imported! She mostly acted like a baby, concentrating on toys and ignoring the fact that her tummy was grumbling. Still, this mutation begged the question as to whether her poor eating habits could have been brought on by crossed signals internally in her body and brain.
Perhaps one question some may have is: Why won’t Berose move into the next life stages, since her life chemical is falling at a normal rate? At this age, she should be a full fledged adult. The answer lies with the individual genes for each life stage. Her mutated gene switches on at the embryo stage, and should move her forward to the child life stage. However, each successive gene switches on at a particular life stage, and not as an embryo. To become an adolescent, a Norn must first be a child. To become a youth, a Norn must first be an adolescent, and so on. This makes sense, since it might seem odd for a Norn to suddenly grow from a tiny baby into a large adult with nothing in between! The reason why this mutation still seems odd to me is because I’m accustomed to Creatures 1 genetics, where these life stage genes can not mutate. Imagine if the actual chemical was changed… A Norn could progress through the life stages only with a certain chemical! However, that could be an interesting set of genes: Only those who ate a certain something would be able to age and, therefore, reproduce. But that’s just a random tangent! It won’t be the last, though.
I found another gene with a similar issue in Berose, but since it would only switch on in the youth life stage, I omitted it. She will forever be a baby until she passes away, although dying from old age is only possible when a Norn has reached the senile life stage. Berose seems to have found the famed fountain of youth on a genetic level! She was a very happy Norn while I studied her, and absolutely loved playing with the toys around her like a typical baby. Who needs to get old? Berose could forever enjoy being young in mind and body!