Following the completion of the Human Genome Project, scientists within the Wizarding World started taking an interest in the differences in the genetics between muggle and the wizarding populations. Following a project between the Wizarding Magics and Sciences Counsel and support from St. Mungo’s Hospital a break through discovery has been made. The genes that control the ability for one to possess and pass on magic.
It has always been an interesting phenomenon, with muggleborns seemingly happening spontaneously. Through research it has shown that most muggleborns have a distant link with a wizarding family. A squib who had left the wizarding world to join the muggles, feeling more at one with the non-magic world, took with them the genes that would then allow for the muggleborns to arise and come back to the wizarding world.
Before delving into the actual technicalities, a vocabulary lesson is necessary to help facilitate and understanding of this process.
The human genome is comprised of DNA, four molecules of: A, T, G and C that are arranged in an endless pattern. This entire sequence is the genome.
Within the genome, there are regions that comprise genes. Genes are the sections that code for traits that will be expressed. Within a population many variations of the same gene exists, an allele is a different version of the same gene.
For a gene, there is also a dominant and recessive version. The dominant version of a gene will be the one that expresses over a recessive. There are many forms of gene interaction, but this is the most common form of inheritance. If a person has a dominant and recessive version of a gene, they are known as heterozygous. The opposite situation is if someone carries either both dominant or both recessive versions. These individuals can be called homozygous dominant or homozygous recessive.
Through the research conducted, two main genes have been discovered that are responsible for magic inheritance. The “Wizarding Gene” and the “Squib Gene”, two genes that have a co-dependent interaction with one another and have resulted in the diverse wizarding population that we have today.
Both of these genes exist in the dominant and recessive forms. The Wizarding Gene, denoted W for dominant and w for recessive and the Squib Gene, as Q for dominant and q for recessive.
In a tested population of Wizards and Squibs an interesting find was discovered that both parties carry both genes but in different variations. It is these variations that allow for a person to develop magic or not. It is all dependent on which version of the allele that the individual carries.
There are four different ways that these two genes interact with one another:
· Wq: dominant for wizarding, recessive for squib.
· WQ: dominant for wizarding, dominant for squib.
· wQ: recessive for wizarding, dominant for squib.
· wq: recessive for wizarding, recessive for squib.
Since a person will always inherit one version of an allele from one parent, an induvial will carry two versions of these gene patterns. Resulting in sixteen possible gene combinations for wizards. As depicted in the following table:
If an induvial carries a dominant form of the Wizarding Gene, it will express over any form of the Squib gene. Thus, allowing for twelve different possible combinations for a person to develop magic, as shown in green.
The situations that are highlighted in purple result in a squib. The dominant versions of the Squib Gene override the recessive versions of the wizarding gene. However, an interesting note should be made that since these two versions carry the “wq” alleles, these squibs still act as “Magic Carriers”.
If an induvial inherits the allele pattern highlighted in red they are a true Squib and not a Magic Carrier. They are homozygous dominant of the Squib Gene and are homozygous recessive for the wizarding gene and are unable to pass along any magic genes or possess the use of magic.
The truly peculiar case is the one highlighted in blue, when an individual is homozygous recessive for both the Wizarding and Squib genes. The wizarding gene in this instance has a powerful interaction over the squib gene, despite being recessive as well. The people in this case are the muggleborns.
When two Magic Carriers have a child there is a one in four chance that their offspring with develop magic abilities. Below are the potential results of two Magic Carrier parents with the allele patterns “wQwq x wqwQ” crossed with one another.
This one in four chance can sometimes be a surprise for a family of muggles. If a family was unaware of a squib being in the family line, they could be fully unaware that they have been a Magic Carrier until the correct union takes places with another unsuspecting Magic Carrier. This accounts for the ability that muggleborns can seem completely random, as these carrier genes can be silenced in families for generations. Only to surface again decades later when any connection to the wizarding family that originated the Magic Carrier gene is no longer known.
The research conducted is only the beginning into a closer look at the genetics of Wizards. The Wizarding Magics and Sciences Counsel is hoping to analyze the twelve different variations genes that result in a wizard to see if the different versions result in the ability to handle different types of magic better than another.