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theaceofspadez's avatar

The Genetics of the Pony

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This is a mini-project that I did in my free time. Yes it's a long read, but worth it if you enjoy putting science into Ponies!

It's just my idea of how pony types are passed from generation to generation, and the genetic specifics associated with the hereditary nature of pony type.

As a note, the section on the Elements of Harmony at the end has no scientific basis and exists literally as a mere whim of mine, something to make wielding the Elements a prestigious role. It was pointed out by ~Twinflamable that this section is extremely speculative. I have therefore edited the document, completely removing the Elements section from the theory, placing it as a post-conclusion thought.

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EDIT
For anyone wondering about the Season 3 Finale, Magical Mystery Cure, and how it relates to this, here's my theory: there exists magic, which Twilight/Celestia are able to access, that modifies genes. Not exactly possible in standard genetics, but this is FiM, so anything is possible.
(i.e., Twilight was, for instance, [pp NN Aa], and the magic she used changed her to [PP NN aa] or [Pp Nn aa], or perhaps forced the expression of the Pegasus gene even though it was completely recessive)
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© 2011 - 2021 theaceofspadez
Comments213
anonymous's avatar
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xXDragonPonyXx's avatar
very Good ^_^ But i have Proof that Raritys Father is a Unicorn, see here: 
Mlp Genetics by xXDragonPonyXx
You don't have to comment, just for you to know ^_^ (that last Text was an Joke, don't worry XD I am sorry if you already know)
Chersema's avatar
"Holy Crap!" I hear you cry out. 

That line cracked me up so much. Good guide.
Rainseed's avatar
Is it alright to refer to this for genetic models for original species on it's function and structure while giving credit to you for it?
theaceofspadez's avatar
Sure, I suppose that's fine.
Rainseed's avatar
Paradoxelle's avatar
You claim that Applejack is possibly an Alicorn Earth pony because of her strength, however, is it possible that her strength is developed just from her sheer hard work and dedication, which we saw was a huge part of her personality pretty early on in the show; out of the main six, with her physics and reality breaking behavior, wouldn't Pinkie Pie be the Earth Pony most likely out of the 2 to have the Alicorn gene? Or do you think it more likely Pinkie Pie's awesome but strange traits to be signs of another gene altogether? I can see Twilight, obviously, because super glowy eyes level of magic from a young age and last season of course, and Dash isn't too much a stretch because she can do a rainboom, something no other pony can do, just as Celestia and Luna raise the sun and moon ALONE, something no other pony can do. Plus Fluttershy screams recessive earth pony with pegasi genes. Don't get me wrong, I love Applejack...she is one tough cookie as the breadwinner entrepreneur and main matriarch of the Ponyville branch of the Apple Clan, but surely it's all that farm work that has her so strong.
Morticia-Lynne's avatar
I'mma jussgonna show this to my science teacher, mkah?
Rainseed's avatar
Definitely the best work and explanation out there, do you mind if people refer to this when breeding pony types?
theaceofspadez's avatar
Not at all, that's why I made it!
wanderingbishop's avatar
I'm thinking that forcing the expression of the Pegasus gene fits on a thematic level - Celestia didn't fundamentally change Twilight, she drew out what was always in her to begin with.
BratzDArkRock's avatar
I love genetics. And this was very interesting to read. I'll take some time to think about it.

Thanks so much for posting it on DA!
mojomcm's avatar
This is very well thought out and excellently presented. Cutie Thumbs Up 
User1997's avatar
WHOA! Now prove their existence, and you will receive the Nobel Prize!
Snowpup22's avatar
and alot of people's respect :P :iconpinkiepieplz: :iconpinkiepiefillyplz:
zdsc28's avatar
mine is a simple pegasus with alot ,wait,WAT
MINE IS A simple unicorn with 5 talents
AskPastelSkittlesMLP's avatar
Zaurra-WolfMaiden's avatar
Ponies + science= 20% cooler
Polliniti's avatar
Sweet job!
-My oc is officially confirmed to be an Alicorn Pegasus-- :floating:
Thanks for the theorem
ILoveChocolateMore's avatar
I just have one question- why isn't there a separate allele for earth ponies? I mean, in your theory, you show that the only effects of the alleles(As far as I understand) are either the existence or absence of horns and/or wings, and, in the case of the alicorn allele, the enhancement of one's race's strengths. However, it has been hinted in the show that earth ponies are naturally stronger and, as you said yourself, have a special connection to nature. Unicorns and pegasi do not usually exhibit these traits, so why don't earth ponies have their own allele.
Also, I have another question. I might be completely wrong on this since I have no idea on how genetics work, but here goes- Wouldn't a ppnnaa or a PPNNAA pony turn out to be a weird mutant of sorts due to incomplete domination? Again, there is a big chance that this doesn't make any sense, but I just want an explanation on this since I don't really get it.
theaceofspadez's avatar
There isn't an allele for earth ponies since the nature of my theory is that each allele, when present as capital (P, N, A) will specifically call for the presence of some actual feature/trait. Since what physically categorizes an earth pony is the fact they have neither wings NOR a horn, there's no physical feature for an allele to call for the development of. In the case of unicorn/pegasus, they have a horn/wings that had to develop at some point. Essentially, earth ponies "missed out" (meant in the best of ways) on getting wings or a horn, and I don't believe the "special connection to nature" is genetic (perhaps it naturally develops since they don't have to worry about flight, magic, etc).

As to your second question, it's possible that, for example, PP NN AA would give some co-dominant result. But, Codominance is a situation that arises with specific alleles on specific genes, for example in the human genome. I'm simply saying that the P, N, and A alleles function "normally" in the dominant/recessive fashion, and cancel each other out when they are both dominant (with the exception, of course, when paired with aa).

Hope this clears it up!
Mawxee's avatar
Just to make sure I get this straight.
- Pegasus and Unicorn genes work like a set of scales where the dominant genes are of equal weight. (I believe "codominant" is the correct word for this.)
- If they cancel each other out, we get an Earth pony.
- Alicorn genes act as a booster:
AA makes basic ponies,
Aa makes ponies with boosted power and
aa bypasses the cancelling effect and allows both mutations if they are present and at equal strength.
AndytheB-Artist's avatar
So, what would happen if a Pegasus pony gave birth to a Unicorn or Earth Pony and it fell out of Cloudsdale?
theaceofspadez's avatar
Hah never thought of that. There'd have to be some way of keeping them from falling, then they'd probably have to grow up on the ground.
anonymous's avatar
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