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Help meganbmoore ponder one of life's great questions! She asks, among other things, "Were his entire genetics rewritten during that little Killing Spree of Youkai Making Angst Overload?"

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
meganbmoore
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION! IT IS THE KIND OF THING THAT SITS AND LURKS!!!

And at least all but one person so far looks past "mpreg" to actually ponder it!

Me needs more explanation than "He killed a bunch of youkai and got splattered with their blood at then was a whole other species!"
chomiji
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)

I have at least one scientist Saiyuki fangirl on my f-list whom I'm trying to steer in your direction ... see, I'm taking it Very Seriously. Rilly.

freeradical9
Nov. 3rd, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
LOL! That was an awesome thread. I agree with your comment in meganbmoore's journal, that in mythology, a magical transformation is a magical transformation--complete and entire (with the exception of fairy tale transformations where the victim retains the former personality, like the frog prince).

I also think that Hakkai is 100% youkai. Getting changed *hurt*, quite obviously from the manga, and somehow I can't see stoic Hakkai loosing his composure and screaming at just minor changes in appearance like ears getting stretched a bit. Seems to me that Minekura wanted to convey that this was a *major* change, which makes me think that his DNA was being re-written in the process.

Logically, though, I can't think how this could actually happen. If what Nii said was true, human and youkai are definitely different species, which means there would probably be literally hundreds of differences at the DNA level separating one from the other. Donkeys and horses can't interbreed because they have a different number of chromosomes--donkeys have 62 and horses have 64. Mating the 2 gives rise to mules, which have 63 chromosomes and so can't generally reproduce--except in the case where something called a "mosaic" is formed, see: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/332285_mule20.html

So I don't have any idea how Hakkai could gain or loose an entire chromosome from a human's normal complement of 46. The only logical explanations I could come up with would be modeled on a smaller scale on viruses or prions. Some viruses can integrate into the host DNA, causing changes in the host (i.e. most of the stuff that makes cholera a horrible disease comes from a virus integrated into the V. cholera genome). Some viruses can even be transmitted through blood contact. Alternatively, (if youkai and humans *aren't* actually different species), maybe prions could have had something to do with it; because a prion is a mis-folded protein that causes other proteins like it to mis-fold and assume a new form. (i.e. everybody has the protein that causes mad cow disease, it's just that the normal form works, and the prion form doesn't and causes massive damage).

On a completely non-scientific note, I've wondered before if humans and youkai really *are* the same--i.e. all youkai were humans before being cursed with a youkai mark that turned them into demons.

Hee. That's my 2 cents. ^_^

chomiji
Nov. 6th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
(Hakkai's transformation)

Eeek, it's been an eventful couple of days ... sorry this response is so late.

I don't think it's necessary to get too scientific when there's magic. Clearly youkai and humans are close enough to crossbreed, and every once in a while, even the real world throws us a curveball with some of these ... mules, ligers, all those silly things. Nii at one point speculates that hanyou are sterile, which would go with the mule thing.

I mean, if magic can create something ex nihilo - and we don't know that it can, but where the hell did all the toys and crazy stuff in Kami-sama's castle come from? - then couldn't it replace some of his DNA, selectively? As long as Minekura has a gut feel for what she's allowing and not allowing, so that it has underlying consistency by its own rules, I'm not going to worry about that! But the idea of "fairy" blood of some sort in a human family is very common ... ditto Elvish blood in Tolkien. Minekura's youkai are played more or less that way - a similar humanoid race.

So this all works for me, and we can go ahead and speculate on Hakkai and Gojyo's mpreg offspring ... .

XD

freeradical9
Nov. 9th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Re: (Hakkai's transformation)
LOL! Absolutely. (Which makes me very curious as to whether or not you'd ever consider writing a sequel to the original story). ^_^

I think the aspect of vagueness is one of the things that makes Minekura such a great storyteller. She provides just enough detail to make things intriguing, but not so much detail that an expert could come in and pick apart the explanations. This way, a reader can fill in the nitty-gritty based on their own background and life experiences, in a way that makes sense to them. ^^

chomiji
Nov. 17th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
Re: (Hakkai's transformation)

Lord, how did I leave this response for so long?

I don't know whether I could do a sequel ... I'm not sure they're set mentally up for quite that degree of domesticity, nor am I certain that Hakkai would really be able to grow a functional uterus, not to mention the whole issue of messing around with the two male gametes to end up with something that would actually develop into a fetus. Ironically, if anyone in the Saiyuki world would be able to help him, it would probably be Nii Jianyi ... .

Did I ever ask you whether you'd read C.J.Cherryh's Cyteen, which is very much about this sort of idea? [Extract:]

    A replicate citizen was not azi. There were considerable legal differences between young Justin, say, and elegant, red-haired Grant, at the second rank of tables, so, so close in all respects . . . born in the same lab, an insignificant day apart. But Justin, dark-haired, square-jawed, and, at a handsome, broad-shouldered seventeen, so very much Jordan's younger image . . . was CIT 976-88-2355 PR, that all-important Citizen prefix and that expensive Parental Replicate suffix---replicate except for the little accidents like the break in Jordan's nose, the little scar on Justin's chin, and oh, indeed, the personality, and the ability. When Justin was a mote in a womb-tank, the Bok project had already failed---but (Ari was amused) Jordan had entertained notions that his tapes and his genes could overcome all odds.

    The lad was bright. But he was not Jordan. Thank God.

    Grant's number, on the other hand, was ALX-972, experimental: a design of her own, aesthetic in the extreme, and with an excellent antecedent---another Special geneset, but, for certain legal reasons, she had corrected a genetic fault, incidentally expressing a few aesthetic recessives, to an extent that the legitimate descendants of a certain slightly myopic, brown-haired, unathletic biologist with a heart defect . . . would find astounding.

    Neither was Grant a biologist. An excellent student in tape-design, an Alpha capable of working on the structures which had made him what he was---structures wherein lay the legal difference, not in the substitution of certain sequences in the geneset, not in the wombs which gestated them.

(And BTW, I posted the story I'd been working on for so long.)

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