Question

@tersyne asked:  I’m not sure if I’ve asked you already, but I always headcanon’d the reason they don’t use Claire’s blood to reanimate Nathan in the v4 finale is because they have incompatible blood types. What would actually happen if a person (alive or dead) was injected with an incompatible blood type from a regenerator? Could some type of compatible reanimative serum be produced a la Star Trek?

Note: this was originally posted on my blog on tumblr.com. I have tried to convert some of the formatting over, however there may be some inconsistencies. Also this particular entry was written before I knew how to cite scientific sources, so sources will either be nonexistent or incorrectly cited. 

Really quickly I’m going to break down blood types and the +/- just because that’s important to answer this question. There are eight different blood types. A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+, and O-. The ABO are each different antigens (little flags that identify your cells) that can be on the outside of a person’s cell. So a person’s immune system with an A blood type would not attack A antigens, but they would attack B antigens. A person’s immune system with O blood type makes a defective antigen, so they would attack any cell with an A or B antigen because this is seen as foreign. So A can accept from A and O. B can accept from B and O. AB can accept from all groups because it attacks none of the antigens. And O can only accept from O. Poor O.

 

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Could Claire Bennet get pregnant?

Note: this was originally posted on my blog on tumblr.com. I have tried to convert some of the formatting over, however there may be some inconsistencies. Also this particular entry was written before I knew how to cite scientific sources, so sources will either be nonexistent or incorrectly cited. 

It has come to my attention (via citydin and transportive) that no one really knows if a female regenerator like Claire could get pregnant. So if you were wondering this deep and burning question, look no further.

Warning: talk of pregnancy, menstruation, blood, and other things women deal with on a monthly basis.

NOTE: There was considerable debate and discussion on this post. I am not going to repost it all right now, but if someone would like to see it I would be happy to add all the comments at a later date.

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Adrenaline and Abilities in Heroes

Note: this was originally posted on my blog on tumblr.com. I have tried to convert some of the formatting over, however there may be some inconsistencies. Also this particular entry was written before I knew how to cite scientific sources, so sources will either be nonexistent or incorrectly cited. 

Initially the powers seen by the characters in Heroes were explained by purely genetic means, a character has a mutation that means that they have an ability. However later in the show it was revealed that adrenaline (also called epinephrine) played a major role in the function of their powers. So how does the genetics of the abilities in Heroes play into the actual function of epinephrine? How can a hormone be interconnected with genetics?

Let’s start by looking at how hormones work. Hormones are produced by the endocrine system, which is one of the two ways that your brain tells your body what to do. The other is the nervous system. The nervous system deals in nerves and fast responses, like slapping someone in the face. The endocrine system deals with slow change, like puberty. The effects of a hormone from the endocrine system can last days or hours while a signal from a neuron doesn’t even last a second.

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The Biology of Claire Bennet: Wait how many mutations was that?

Note: this was originally posted on my blog on tumblr.com. I have tried to convert some of the formatting over, however there may be some inconsistencies. Also this particular entry was written before I knew how to cite scientific sources, so sources will either be nonexistent or incorrectly cited. 

In the TV show Heroes Claire Bennet has the ability to heal, and later has the ability not to feel pain. She survived falling from great heights, car accidents, and extreme levels of radiation. All in the first season. But how does her ability function on a biological level?

Claire initially just has the ability of heal, so let’s look at that first.  Any cuts or scrapes that Claire sustains are quickly healed without any scaring. She can also regenerate limbs, or at least small ones like toes. This ability is a lot like one that some lizards have. If the tail or the leg of certain types of lizards is cut off they will grow back the lost appendage. They do this by having a bunch of undifferentiated cells (cells that haven’t been told that they are going to do. They haven’t been given a job, like being a skin cell) and the limb rebuilds its self. The genes that in lizards that allow them to regenerate like this turn out to actually be in most vertebrates including humans.

Then why aren’t we all Claire Bennet?

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Two blue eyed parents can have a brown eyed child: How Nathan Petrelli can be born without abilities

Note: this was originally posted on my blog on tumblr.com. I have tried to convert some of the formatting over, however there may be some inconsistencies. Also this particular entry was written before I knew how to cite scientific sources, so sources will either be nonexistent or incorrectly cited. 

This is an essay examining how a character with two parents with “powers” could be normal from a genetic point of view. I’ll specifically be looking at Nathan Petrelli from Heroes but it could be applied to Avatar the Last Airbender or Harry Potter with some modifications.

Disclaimer: I’m a biology student but it’s been a year since I took genetics and I don’t know everything. Feel free to point out anything that I got wrong.

Basic things to know about Nathan: In the show Nathan can fly, but it is revealed in the third season that these abilities were given to him as a child and that he was born without the proper gene to have an ability. (If it’s possible to genetically engineer someone after they’re a fetus is a different story that would get very confusing very quickly so I’m just going to assume that this is possible.) Everyone else in Nathan’s family has an ability naturally, including his brother Peter, you’ll see why this is important later.

Continue reading “Two blue eyed parents can have a brown eyed child: How Nathan Petrelli can be born without abilities”