If Primes have more than one child, would that dilute their power?Lisa
I am not quite sure what you’re asking here. Let me try to explain genetics and talent. This will be super simplified and not entirely accurate, but for the demonstration purposes, it should work.
Let’s say I am a Prime. I have a dice with four sides. 3 sides are red and 1 side is blue. My spouse is also a Prime and they have the same dice.
We toss our dice on the table. If one of the sides facing us is red, our child will be a Prime. If both sides facing us are blue, the child with be a Significant.
The probability of me rolling the dice resulting in blue is 1/4 or .25. The probability of both of us rolling a blue is 1/4 multiplied by 1/4 = 1/16.
Now let’s look at the odds. Probability tells us what is possible, while the odds tell us how likely the event is to occur. To determine odds, we take the probability of the event occurring and divide it by the probability of the event not occurring.
Correction here, thank you to Michael in the comments, who put it much better than I did:
Probability tells us how likely something is to occur. As you said in your example, there is a 1 in 16 chance of a significant, or a 6.25% chance.
Odds tell you how the two outcomes compare. So a prime is 15 times more likely to occur than a significant (odds of 15:1). We wouldn’t really describe odds as 7%, because because odds represent a comparison, not a percentage.
So let’s do a bit of math.
Two parents: 1/16 divided by 15/16 = 1 in 15 or roughly 7% odds of producing a Significant.
Every time we have a child, we have to roll the dice again. Having more children doesn’t change how the dice are rolled. If we roll the dice 16 times, it doesn’t mean that we get 15 Primes and 1 Significant. It means that every time we roll the dice, there is a possibility our child will be a Significant, but that possibility is relatively small. We could end up with 16 Significants, but the probability of that is very low.
Someone check my math since it’s early in the morning.
The bottom line for those of us whose eyes glaze over at the sight of fractions: if you have a 2 dice with 3 red sides and 1 blue side each, the chances of getting at least one red when throwing them is pretty high.
Now, in real life, genetics are more complicated than that. In the old days they would use XX and XY example, but I hate this, because in reality you get all sorts of wild combos of X and Y and that’s why statistically gender is less like a defined sphere but more like a swarm of bees. But anyway, a quick course in biology here.
The traits we have are encoded in our genes. These genes are strung together into chromosomes, kind of like beads that are placed on the lengths of wire. These beads are arranged in pairs.
When we produce our reproductive cells, called gametes, or sperm and eggs depending on your biology, only one half of each pair of chromosomes gets copied. So if you had a a pair of blue beads and a pair of green beads, the gamete will only contain 1 string of blue and 1 string of green. Which one depends on chance, so we are rolling the dice here. And in case of humans, we are rolling it 23 times, because we have 23 chromosomal pairs. And we are rolling the dice additional times to make sure each chromosome gets copied correctly, because sometimes there is printer error.
When fertilization occurs, the two gametes, sperm and egg, merge and the resulting cell gets paired chromosomes again, 1 string each from father and 1 string each from mother.
To go back to the stupid XY example. If I am female with XX chromosomal pair, then my egg will only contain an X chromosome. I have nothing else to contribute. If I am a male with an XY, then my sperm with contain either X or Y. So our child can either be XX or XY.
In theory. If nothing goes wrong. Because at any point mutation can show up with a giant club and pummel our poor chromosomes into a mess. Our chromosomes might not get copied properly or we might end up with an extra.
Sometimes a tiny portion of Y chromosome translocates and you have XX male, who will typically have male genital organs, small testes and will often require hormonal therapy through adolescence to assist in development. Sometimes other abnormalities present in this case, like sexual organs that are not clearly identifiable as male or female.
Sometimes you have an XY female, which is called Swyer Syndrome, where a child looks female but is born with nonfunctioning gonads. Gonads are kind of like your prototypical sexual organs; they need a push to develop into ovaries or testes (super simplifying here.)
So you see, every step of this process we are rolling some sort of dice and then trying to hold off barbarians with clubs that are hoping to break into our reproductive fortress and wreck things. This is by design. This mess happens because a certain number of random mutations is good for the populations overall. It makes us more adaptable.
It is a known fact that a lot of people rethink having children after taking a genetics class with emphasis on human reproduction. I was terrified because all of the things that can go wrong. I did feel a little safer, after I was told I couldn’t have children… We all know how that turned out. 😀
Here comes the fun part. Magic talents are likely the result of a combination of chromosomes. Meaning that there is not one chromosomal pair that determines things but probably several. So the combinations here can get really wild. Primes try to mitigate this by marrying people of similar talents, but you can only restrain nature so much.
And this is why genetics are complicated, magic talents are sometimes a surprise, and you probably shouldn’t worry about the transference of inherited genetic traits in a fictional universe.