Dūnyain genetics

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ThoughtsOfThelli

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« on: July 17, 2017, 04:38:57 pm »
(I went ahead and followed Wilshire's suggestion so that I wouldn't clutter the other thread with this.)

I'd like to keep discussing Dūnyain genetic incompatibility with the worldborn as it really fascinates me (despite my unwise tendency to try to look at it with real life genetics in mind). In the other thread there was speculation about what other factors besides "native intellect" influenced genetic compatibility - there is evidence that there's more than that, just from looking at the examples of Kellhus' concubines who were all chosen with that one factor in mind.

I've also wondered about the "nameless children" and if the specific deformity of Kellhus and Esmenet's child (eight arms, no eyes):
a) was something common to the others (whose deformities are not elaborated on) and derived from something specific in their genes (whale mothers? Nonmen?)
and/or
b) had some underlying symbolism to it (admittedly, that's a stretch, and maybe just me extrapolating from the fact that it is something rare in humans in real life).
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 07:47:31 am »
Hard to say anything specific, other than selective breeding through 2000 millenia (which is still a short time for real world genetics) have rendered Dūnyain sufficiently different from humans such as to make interbreeding hard.

As for the deformed child, I think Bakker was inspired by those numerous pictures of deformed babies (usually from India) which are to be found on the internet. I don't think it has any specific symbolism other than to show the incompatibility.
Still, interesting topic. Wouldn't mind if Bakker provided more info on Dūnyain genetics in future installments...

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 11:49:14 am »
Hard to say anything specific, other than selective breeding through 2000 millenia (which is still a short time for real world genetics) have rendered Dūnyain sufficiently different from humans such as to make interbreeding hard.

As for the deformed child, I think Bakker was inspired by those numerous pictures of deformed babies (usually from India) which are to be found on the internet. I don't think it has any specific symbolism other than to show the incompatibility.
Still, interesting topic. Wouldn't mind if Bakker provided more info on Dūnyain genetics in future installments...

I had the same thought, everyone usually thinks 2000 years is a long time, but not for the effects of selective breeding to start being noticeable, it really has to be seen in perspective of human generations.
Let's see: the Dūnyain arrived on Ishuäl in 2147, and since that was during the Apocalypse, no babies would actually be born until 2156 at the earliest. Kellhus was born around 4076 (if he was 33 - age given in the appendices of TDTCB and TWP - when he left Ishuäl in 4109). That leaves us with around 1920 years of the Dūnyain breeding program until Kellhus was born, and even if we consider very short generations, for instance, lasting 15 years, that would only give us 128 generations (likely less because they most certainly were not having children by 15, there was the whole selection with the Thousand Thousand Halls, plus, a number of defective children could be born before they had one they were satisfied with, etc.). Which is not that much for changes as drastic as the existence of Whale Mothers to take place.

But, as it has been stated in previous topics, we really can't look at this with the lens of real life genetics. Maybe in a "realistic" setting (genetics wise) whale mothers would only be possible with genetic engineering, but they did have Nonman blood (or at least the initial Anasūrimbor boy did), and we have no idea what that could result in taken together with what they were trying to achieve with their breeding program (the idea of whale mothers taking after the Tall has been floated around in previous threads, and is definitely possible).
Perhaps the concentration of Nonman genes (and here I'm speculating that at least one of the other original bloodlines the Dūnyain started with had Nonman ancestry as well - it's not impossible as we know of at least one other hybrid than the one in the Anasūrimbor line) is what ultimately resulted in them being genetically incompatible with regular women, almost like a different species? (I say "almost" here because there were still a few humans they could successfully breed with)

Regarding the deformed child - you might be right, I just found those specific deformities curious and was wondering if there was something more to it.
Though I remember that one little girl from India that was born with 8 limbs a few years back was that way due to a parasitic twin. There have been a few examples of Anasūrimbor twins in the series, maybe Kellhus and Esmenet's deformed child had a parasitic twin as well? Kelmomas, after all, had a parasitic twin in his soul in a way, it would be fitting that there was a sibling who had a "normal" physical one.

Sorry for the long post - we might not know enough to draw any meaningful conclusions, but it's always fun to speculate. ;)
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Wilshire

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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 12:20:49 pm »
Its really hard to say what is and isn't possible, imo. Sometimes drastic effects can take place in a much shorter period of time, fewer generation, than what you would expect. Look into dog breeding. 10,000+ years from wolves to semi domesticated protodogs. A few hundred years of selective breeding and we've got what we see today. Crazy!

There just aren't many real studies of strictly controlled eugenics in complex animals for a highly specific purpose. You're right, evolution takes a long, LONG, time. Selective breeding, especially without regard to any kind of morality, happens dramatically more quickly.

 I submit that most of the dunyain abilities that we see are, first, within the realm of possibility (regardless of alien/fantasy mechanics), and second, are likely achievable within a 'short' period of time (several thousand years).
One of the other conditions of possibility.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 12:31:15 pm »
Its really hard to say what is and isn't possible, imo. Sometimes drastic effects can take place in a much shorter period of time, fewer generation, than what you would expect. Look into dog breeding. 10,000+ years from wolves to semi domesticated protodogs. A few hundred years of selective breeding and we've got what we see today. Crazy!

There just aren't many real studies of strictly controlled eugenics in complex animals for a highly specific purpose. You're right, evolution takes a long, LONG, time. Selective breeding, especially without regard to any kind of morality, happens dramatically more quickly.

 I submit that most of the dunyain abilities that we see are, first, within the realm of possibility (regardless of alien/fantasy mechanics), and second, are likely achievable within a 'short' period of time (several thousand years).

Dog generations (and by extension wolves) are much shorter than human ones, though - you can have a new generation every 2 years or so (or even after a short period of time, but I think that dogs under age 2 are usually considered too young for breeding, feel free to correct me, I'm no expert on this). Still, I agree that you can see results of that selective breeding after a "short" period of time (short as it pertains to genetics).

I don't have much trouble believing that the Dūnyain could have super-reflexes, thinking processes, etc. after 2000 years, especially given that some of those would result from training and not just genetics. To me, the only thing that seemed to be unlikely to be achieved in too short a period of time would be the extreme sexual dimorphism, and that can possibly be explained by Nonman genes. :)
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Madness

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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 01:24:00 pm »
There just aren't many real studies of strictly controlled eugenics in complex animals for a highly specific purpose. You're  To me, the only thing that seemed to be unlikely to be achieved in too short a period of time would be the extreme sexual dimorphism, and that can possibly be explained by Nonman genes. :)

As long as the contention is not that such extreme sexual dimorphism doesn't exist in the real world.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 01:29:59 pm by Madness »
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ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 01:38:50 pm »
As long as the contention is not that such extreme sexual dimorphism doesn't exist in the real world.

I know it absolutely does, and more extreme still, just not in humans.
And my point there is that the Dūnyain had to go from regular humans, with mild (low?) levels of sexual dimorphism to human-looking men and whale mothers in just 2000 years, not the dimorphism itself.
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 02:41:22 pm »
As long as the contention is not that such extreme sexual dimorphism doesn't exist in the real world.

I know it absolutely does, and more extreme still, just not in humans.
And my point there is that the Dūnyain had to go from regular humans, with mild (low?) levels of sexual dimorphism to human-looking men and whale mothers in just 2000 years, not the dimorphism itself.

I understood that you think time is the pivotal factor. I suppose I'm speaking to the history of disbelief among some readers since TGO that such extremes exist at all.
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ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 03:02:13 pm »
I understood that you think time is the pivotal factor. I suppose I'm speaking to the history of disbelief among some readers since TGO that such extremes exist at all.

Of course, I'm sorry, I misunderstood your previous post.



Something else about the Dūnyain and genetics occurred to me. We know they apparently descend from 12 original bloodlines, the "Twelve Germs", and after 2000 years, every single current Dūnyain must descend from all of these (this with Wilshire's posts about how many were the original Dūnyain and how they'd avoid excessive inbreeding in mind). How come, then, that the only Anasūrimbors appear to be Moėnghus and his direct descendants? Surely a great number of Dūnyain will be descended from Ganrelka's bastard son after 2000 years (I'm guessing not all of them, because there was only one original Anasūrimbor). Are they only counting male-line descendants? Even if they are, it seems strange that there would only be Moėnghus, Kellhus, Koringhus and the boy over the past 4 generations, and not any brothers, uncles, etc.
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 04:07:08 pm »
No worries.

Also, we don't know that there weren't brothers, uncles, cousins, etc, within the same Germ-lines. Though, as mentioned before I revised my post, I am not the person to be having this conversation with ;).

Just don't have enough interest or knowledge.

EDIT: Though now that I'm thinking about it, if the Bastard was one of the Twelve-Germs, then he must have mated with a certain number of females so the next generation of the Anasurimbor line didn't rely on literally one person from the Germ-line.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 04:14:56 pm by Madness »
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Wilshire

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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 04:21:17 pm »
That the Dunyain kept around the Anasurimbor surname at all is odd - to me it doesn't really even fit into the story other than as a plot tool. What good are surnames in a population that small and geographically defined? Way easier, and more useful, to go without names at all and just use a numbering system.

Example
1.23.01.56

First number: which original family, second number which child you were from that generation, third number etc. etc.

To me, for a sect that scrubbed nearly all history and all magic, why keep such a powerful reminder of it sitting around?

That aside, everyone after 2000 years would be, more or less, partially related in some way. As it seems the case, the Anasurimbor line seemed to produce particularly good traits, and likely had a fairly large representation within the gene pool because of that.

One of the other conditions of possibility.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 04:47:23 pm »
No worries.

Also, we don't know that there weren't brothers, uncles, cousins, etc, within the same Germ-lines. Though, as mentioned before I revised my post, I am not the person to be having this conversation with ;).

Just don't have enough interest or knowledge.

EDIT: Though now that I'm thinking about it, if the Bastard was one of the Twelve-Germs, then he must have mated with a certain number of females so the next generation of the Anasurimbor line didn't rely on literally one person from the Germ-line.

Exactly, if you are counting the bastard boy's line as one of the Twelve, if figures that, while there was just one person from that line at the beginning (the other bloodlines could have many people from the same family at the very start, especially given we can't know for certain how many original Dūnyain there were), he would have a reasonable number of descendants after a few generations.
It's likely that the reason there aren't any other Anasūrimbor relatives (or at least none are mentioned) is because the narrative only needs Moėnghus and his line, but I was trying to find plausible in-universe reasons. ;)


That the Dunyain kept around the Anasurimbor surname at all is odd - to me it doesn't really even fit into the story other than as a plot tool. What good are surnames in a population that small and geographically defined? Way easier, and more useful, to go without names at all and just use a numbering system.

Example
1.23.01.56

First number: which original family, second number which child you were from that generation, third number etc. etc.

To me, for a sect that scrubbed nearly all history and all magic, why keep such a powerful reminder of it sitting around?

That aside, everyone after 2000 years would be, more or less, partially related in some way. As it seems the case, the Anasurimbor line seemed to produce particularly good traits, and likely had a fairly large representation within the gene pool because of that.

I agree that the reason the name has persisted is just because an Anasūrimbor needs to be there at the end of the world for the story to work. Like you said, it would be much more pratical for the Dūnyain to forgo family names (and maybe even given names?) entirely in-universe.
But it really wouldn't be the same thing for Achamian to meet the Third Scion of the 120th Generation of the Fifth Germ (or something along those lines) instead of Anasūrimbor Kellhus. ;)

Yes, one more reason for collateral lines to be present and for others than the four we know about to be around for the past few generations. There aren't many reasons in universe to justify why there isn't a large Anasūrimbor extended family, even if just the men were being counted. It really has to come down to plot reasons.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 05:20:54 pm »
But if we go on and assume that the Anasurimbor name was kept around for a reason, I would conclude that there still 12 surnames in Ishual. Used simply as a tool to keep track on genetic variance and origins. Perhaps there is only 1 primary breeding male per Name - afterall men can produce offspring about ever 2-3 days, and he is replaced once his offspring surpass him (using metrics well beyond what we see normally in nature "now the young is stronger than the old so it gets the harem).
I dunno, just thinking out-loud..
One of the other conditions of possibility.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 05:38:49 pm »
But if we go on and assume that the Anasurimbor name was kept around for a reason, I would conclude that there still 12 surnames in Ishual. Used simply as a tool to keep track on genetic variance and origins. Perhaps there is only 1 primary breeding male per Name - afterall men can produce offspring about ever 2-3 days, and he is replaced once his offspring surpass him (using metrics well beyond what we see normally in nature "now the young is stronger than the old so it gets the harem).
I dunno, just thinking out-loud..

It could be, but wouldn't that eventually result in excessive inbreeding?
Unless, of course, the "primary male" for each of the 12 bloodlines was a more recent change to the breeding program.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 05:53:36 pm »
But if we go on and assume that the Anasurimbor name was kept around for a reason, I would conclude that there still 12 surnames in Ishual. Used simply as a tool to keep track on genetic variance and origins. Perhaps there is only 1 primary breeding male per Name - afterall men can produce offspring about ever 2-3 days, and he is replaced once his offspring surpass him (using metrics well beyond what we see normally in nature "now the young is stronger than the old so it gets the harem).
I dunno, just thinking out-loud..

It could be, but wouldn't that eventually result in excessive inbreeding?
Unless, of course, the "primary male" for each of the 12 bloodlines was a more recent change to the breeding program.
Yes and no, depending on how it was implemented. Certainly, we know only the best males were allowed to breed, so that's already happening. Making sure it was an even 1/12 from each family breeding would actually help increase diversity by ensuring that, for whatever reason, there weren't a ton from Line 5 for a given year and none from Line 11. So you'd have 1 male breeding with (likely) all of the females from the other bloodlines, to the degree possible avoid inbreeding.
One of the other conditions of possibility.