This is a sent-in fan theory, from when I accepted sent-in fan theories. It is not currently a part of the site and I do not necessarily endorse everything in it.

Pokémon Genetics

By Apocalypse Raichu

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction/The Beginning
  2. Small Transformers
  3. Pathetic Power
  4. Stats- Nature or Nurture?
  5. Last Resort
  6. Rain, Rain, Go Away
  7. Compassion To Ashes
  8. Pathetic Power Part Two
  9. Spectre Of Uncertainty
  10. Come Together Planet Earth
  11. Pokémon Sociology
  12. Window Into Minds
  13. Conclusion

Chapter 1: Introduction/The Beginning

I know very well that I’m insane trying to make scientific sense of Pokémon, constantly thought of as whimsical. Just bear with me. Also, note that this refers only to the games, as I am not at all interested in the animé. This means I will not discuss how Pokémon only say syllables of their names, as it makes absolutely no sense and does not occur in the games. The games just tend to make more sense overall.

Anyway, in the beginning, there was Arceus. And It was alone for beyond eternity and beyond existence, for those had not yet been invented. It had nothing but Itself. But Itself had many things. It had a thousand skills. With these, It made Dialga and Palkia, so infinity became measurable. But It was still lonely. It needed to create another intelligence, one with unlimited potential to make more companions. And so It created Mew, and the world of Pokémon was born.

Though this seems to be a creationist beginning to the Pokémon world, genetics can explain everything from Smeargle to Kecleon. How, you ask? The answer is in DNA. This substance is a molecule that codes instructions for what proteins to make. These proteins basically are what make all body processes work. It all seems simple, right? Prepare for a lengthy explanation…

Chapter 2: Small Transformers

The first thing to address is Mew. It was said to create all Pokémon that were not parts of Arceus (these include Dialga, Palkia, Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf). How it did it was by, most likely, using its psychic power on an unimaginably small scale to manipulate genes and create genetic diversity in cells of itself that it broke off and animated. This is the only explanation that makes sense, or otherwise there would be trillions of Mews, which is what it would take to produce so many mutations through generations to make other Pokémon. This probably took a while, as it was a delicate process, but eventually there were enough organisms to take over Mew’s job of creation.

But creating life is not all that Mew does. Another thing it is capable of doing is changing into an entirely different Pokémon, specifically the one it’s facing in battle. Other Pokémon have developed abilities like or related to this, like Smeargle and Ditto. Basically, they take on the shape, type, non-HP stats, and/or moveset of the opposing Pokémon. This seems scientifically impossible. But through stem cell manipulation, it’s not at all.

As you may know, cells are infinitesimally small units of life, billions of which are in each complex organism. When you were conceived, you were one cell, which grew and split until you were many. Then, after a period of time, your cells began to specialize into cells for organs. Before this happens, your cells were called stem cells. At this stage, the cells can specialize into anything. To make sense of Ditto’s transforming power, we must assume that everything but Ditto’s brain and nervous system is made of stem cells.

So if Ditto, say, took a sample of another Pokémon’s DNA from a skin cell on the ground, it could replicate the Pokémon. This is done by extracting the DNA with a protein that works like a virus after absorbing, only the “invading” DNA is guided to make it replace Ditto’s “junk” (not coding for any proteins) DNA. (In case you don’t know, a virus injects its DNA into its victim.) The modified cell then replicates, while the brain sends a signal to all other cells not in the brain or with the new DNA to die by giving all their nutrients to the new cells so that they can divide faster, forming a “new” Ditto. Fortunately, many cells are doing this at the same time, so the trainer doesn’t have to see Ditto disintegrating. Then, the cells send signals to each other to specialize into the equivalent of the enemy’s organs. This whole process takes one turn. When Ditto returns to normal, it absorbs all shed onto the ground pre-Transformation stem cells, and does the same thing that it did before.

This can also explain Smeargle’s ability to copy any move, and perhaps also the move Mimic. Of course, for this to make sense, a new theory must be developed as well. Basically the new idea is that all moves, including TM and HM moves that a Pokémon can learn are in its DNA, but just need to be activated by those devices. Otherwise, Ditto wouldn’t be able to copy its foe’s moves. Also, it must be assumed that a Pokémon’s HP is mainly rooted in the brain, and is not because of the organs, or Ditto could copy HP as well as other stats.

Chapter 3: Pathetic Power

Since the last chapter was so long, I’m making a short one to compensate. This one is mainly about nobody’s favorite Pokémon, Kecleon. Though it is all otherwise uninteresting, its ability Color Change seems hard to make scientific sense of. This ability is that it turns into the type of the attack that just hit it. But, in reality, there is a simple explanation. Basically, a Kecleon has the ability to be any type, but hormones control how it changes. If it is hit by an attack of a certain type, its brain analyzes which type and changes into it.

But to change, it means that a Kecleon’s cells cannot be that developed, or else they could not change that easily. This would imply that all Kecleon’s non-brain/nerve or vital organ cells are progenitor cells, which are slightly more developed then stem cells. This means that its minor organs are only somewhat developed. Progenitor cells can change, though, and so Kecleon can easily change types. This lack of development also explains Kecleon’s horrible stats except in Special Defense, where its type changing helps, and Attack, which you don’t need to be highly developed to be good in (but it helps).

Chapter 4: Stats- Nature or Nurture?

As you know, Pokémon all have stats, or specific power levels for aspects of a battle. What it’s hard to figure out, though, is whether an individual Pokémon gets its stats from its genes or how it’s raised. This type of trait determining question is called by geneticists “nature” vs. “nurture”. The answer, like it is for all complicated traits, is both. To see how it works, we must break down all the things that make a Pokémon’s stats.

First, there are base stats. These are the species’ overall power in each stat. Since this is species wide, it obviously is genetic. Next, there are Individual Values or IV’s, values for increasing stats of which certain Pokémon have better than others. This is also genetic, because the values are present at birth and can be passed down from parents. Then there are natures, which increase one stat and decrease one stat, or do nothing. You would think they would be based on how the Pokémon in question is raised, but two things contradict that. These are the facts that A. these are present at birth and never change, and B. if you give a mother an Everstone before putting her in the Day Care, the nature of her baby will have a 50% chance of being hers. So this means that natures are more like inherited personality traits.

Finally, there are Effort Values or EVs, which are modifiers for stats that depend on which Pokémon were fought by the Pokémon. Each species of Pokémon gives Effort Points in a certain stat or stats when defeated. This appears to be the only thing that effects stats based on “nurture” rather than “nature”. Basically, it means that though good stats are mostly genetic one way or another, there still are ways to modify it to achieve favorable stats without selective breeding. It’s like running a marathon. It seems difficult to do it if you naturally are scrawny, slow, and don’t like to exercise. But if you train for it, and constantly work hard, you could possibly pull it off! That’s what “nature” vs. “nurture” is all about.

Chapter 5: Last Resort

The Kabutops was tired, and he could barely move his right scythe to keep propelling himself through the deep sea. But he had to keep moving, had to get some distance between him and the only thing whose hide could not be pierced, whose blood he could not drink. He was loosing blood fast. The Armaldo merely gave chase. It was not tired, but its prey was battered and bleeding. The Kabutops desperately dived into a small, deep chasm with all the speed it had left. It thought of home, and how the number of his kind had dwindled recently due to predators. Predators of predators. He thought of his mate. He couldn’t escape. The Armaldo had seen the ruse and immediately followed suit. He was trapped. He prepared for death. Suddenly, the power came. The Kabutops straightened himself as the Armaldo descended. The power flowed into his throat, and he was no longer afraid. The Armaldo dove in for the kill. It was thrown back by a beam of shining light. It collapsed into a wall of hard rock, and was buried in rubble. It didn’t move. Whether it was dead or fainted didn’t matter to Kabutops. He swam, fast as he could, back to the Kabutops colony. He would live another day.

This could have been the story of the first use of Hyper Beam. Evolutionarily, it would be perfectly explainable how most fully evolved (and some not) Pokémon could have Hyper Beam. They had to use it as a last resort against others or even the forces of nature. Those of the early Pokémon who didn’t have it died. But it is harder to explain how it is possible to shoot a devastating laser of doom from your mouth.

The basic mechanism of a laser is this. There is an energy source, a medium that releases photons (particles of light) and, containing the medium, a chamber of mirroring walls. An energy source shoots photons at the medium. Each photon hits an atom of the medium. An atom, as you know, is made of a nucleus of protons and neutrons with electrons orbiting the nucleus at different places. The electrons with the most energy are the ones farthest from the nucleus’ constant pull. When a photon hits an atom, an electron loses energy and moves closer to the nucleus. The released energy takes the shape of a photon exactly like the one that hit the atom in power and direction. So, the photons, with a constant supply of energy, keep bouncing off the mirrors. But some escape through one of them. The resulting beam of the escaped photon clones all doing the exact same thing is a laser.

The way that this can work in Pokémon is somewhat simple. Inside each Pokémon, there is an energy sac where excess energy is stored for various purposes. For Hyper Beam, the energy sac releases energy into a mirror chamber organ with a medium of some sort (It doesn’t need to be the same with every species). The Hyper Beam comes out of the chamber, reflects of some mirroring parts of the neck, and comes out of the mouth as a devastating last resort.

Chapter 6: Rain, Rain, Go Away

The beach. Why did I go to a rocky beach? These and other frantic thoughts whirled through the Swampert’s head. The Kingler were coming, and her children were in danger. They couldn’t stay on land without a constant supply of water. And she couldn’t burrow because it was a rocky beach! But they had to get out of the water. The Kingler couldn’t go far on land. She would not see her children beaten to death. She motioned to them to follow her and climbed onto the rocks. Suddenly, an idea struck like a Crabhammer upside the head. She let the water out of her pores and mouth slowly as a thin vapor. Small clouds appeared near her head. She held her children near her, safe at last.

It was the coldest winter that the Charizard had seen. She felt the flame on her tail struggling to keep up constant flame. She couldn’t move. Her eggs would instantly freeze. She had to keep them near her tail. Even the flame couldn’t warm them enough. If she did anything with flame, though, they would explode. She started feeling warm, as if she wasn’t freezing. She had heard that before you die of hypothermia, you get a warm feeling. But no, that wasn’t it, it couldn’t be that. She concentrated, expanded the warmth, made it stronger and larger. She opened her eyes. It was bright and looked like spring. Her Charmander would live. She sighed, finally content, and collapsed into a deep sleep.

These, like the Hyper Beam narrative, are stories about the first use of a move (Sunny Day and Rain Dance, in case you couldn’t guess). Basically, they describe what evolutionary benefit one would get by being able to make it bright and warm or raining in an extremely localized area. Obviously, it is the ability to protect one’s young in a dangerous climate by making the climate more suitable for them. The mechanism for this is easy to explain. Water Pokémon have an organ for storing water for their attacks. To do Rain Dance, they simply release enough water as a vapor to make a small cloud. Likewise, Fire Pokémon have an area for storing burnable gas, and for Sunny Day, they radiate enough fire to make it warm and bright. Explained without much effort, just how I like my attacks.

Chapter 7: Compassion to Ashes

They wanted to clone Mew. They failed. They wanted another creator. They made a destroyer. Mewtwo is one of the most powerful Pokémon, cloned from a near- god. But is it really possible to not intentionally create such a monstrosity through only cloning? To find out, you need to think of what cloning really is. Cloning is when someone takes a nucleus or container of DNA from a cell of the organism being cloned, and implants it in an egg cell. The egg cell is then put in pregnancy-like conditions until it matures and is born. This does not mean that the organism is an exact duplicate of the cloned organism with the same memories and whatnot. It just means that the clone has the same genes. It is like an identical twin.

There are also complications with cloning. Because of certain factors, clones age faster than the “originals”. This does not affect Mewtwo though, as Mew is immortal. So what exactly turned Mewtwo into a cynical killing machine that can destroy research facilities without breaking a sweat? Perhaps the scientists did try to modify it in the laboratory after all. They tried to make it stronger, faster, obedient. They succeeded on the first two fronts. How they did on the last one is a strong lesson about the cloning of gods.

Chapter 8: Pathetic Power Part Two

In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Skitty and Delcatty have the chance of having an ability instead of Cute Charm, called Normal Skin. It changes all of their attack’s types to Normal. Considering their wide movesets, this seems to make no sense. How can Thunderbolt turn Normal type? To answer, we must once again turn to lasers. As described in Chapter 5 (to all you who are skimming this, to bad, you should have read it), Pokémon have special laser-forming organs. Basically, attacks like Thunderbolt are turned into small laser equivalents. They can cause status effects because the Skitty or Delcatty are able to throw in an additional pinch of the old type version for good measure occasionally. Another mystery falls to the gore-encrusted broadsword of science!

Chapter 9: Spectre of Uncertainty

You knew the last few chapters were too short. Too easily explained. Here is the officially most difficult thing a Pokémon geneticist can do. I will now… drum roll, please- explain Ghost Pokémon. That’s right, ghosts. You didn’t read that wrong, if it’s even possible to do that.

The thing is, Ghost Pokémon have to have genes. Otherwise, how could they breed and be Transformed into? They specialize in playing tricks with our brains, using proteins to send false signals and confuse us. They’ve capitalized off our fear of the unknown and made us think they were magic. And they love every second of it. Look at those jerks. Every single one is smiling.

Ghost Pokémon are most well known by their immunity to Normal and Fighting attacks. The attacks just pass through them. And yet, Flying and Dragon or any other somewhat physical attacks don’t. By describing Ghost physiology, this is made impossibly complicated, but at least not impossible. Ghost Pokémon’s bodies are organs in a gigantic energy sac for the moves related to Hyper Beam (as described in Chapter 5). They just absorb any punches or lasers. They could also absorb wing slaps or tornadoes. How are they hurt by them?

When a Pokémon performs a Normal or Fighting attack, it loses itself in the moment. It doesn’t have time for such luxuries as thinking. Other types require more concentration, and the Pokémon ends up targeting organs to hit. That’s basically it. Also, the move Foresight makes a Pokémon think before it attacks. This lets Normal and Fighting moves hit their wraithlike target. In addition, Ghost moves cannot harm Normal type Pokémon. One thing could make this possible. If Ghost attacks are all in the head, then if Normal types had nerves of steel, only the most intense ones (Spite, Nightmare, Destiny Bond, Perish Song, the last of which I know is not of the Ghost type but is used mostly by the Pokémon of it) could not be resisted. The Normal types have the power to just refuse that ghostly powers exist, which takes away the fear.

But there’s much more to be made clear. How does a Rotom get into the TV? How can a Misdreavus sing a song that KOs slowly? How can a Banette Curse someone by sticking a needle into itself? They answer is, as said in paragraphs 2 and 4, that Ghost Pokémon like to mess with your head. They send out chemical signals that act just like ones the brain sends. They trick you, make you hallucinate, make you think you’re dying. Some signals take more effort then others, and the hardest to maintain exhaust the Ghost Pokémon.

But what about the Pokédex entries? According to them, Ghost Pokémon feed on emotions, have black holes in their bodies, and actually take human apprentices to the spirit world! How can that be explained? Easily. As I said before, Ghost Pokémon have fooled the pathetic humans for so long, they take for granted things that defy all logic. Even the purest source of scientific data, the Pokédex, considers them mystical. It’s quite sad, really.

So, yes, Ghost Pokémon are organisms. Really nasty ones too. They take pleasure in deceiving and creeping out people. To this day, they are officially paranormal in the eyes of the world’s major scientific institutions. What a shame. What a screaming shame.

Chapter 10: Come Together Planet Earth

“And the battle did rage until balance was received. Rayquaza descended from the sky, and Groudon slept in rock while Kyogre slept in ocean for eons more. The lands were pulled together back from chaos by Regigigas, and life was prepared to form.”
-Some kind of Pokémon Bible

Two titans, equal but opposite forces, both with powers unexplainable. The builders of the Earth certainly seem that way. But even gods can be explained as natural phenomena, and real gods are no exception. By understanding how Groudon and Kyogre tick, you can see how everyday functions of less powerful Pokémon work, and begin to grasp the evolution history of Pokémon in general.

Kyogre is the easier thing to address, a titan of endlessly malleable water rather than hard rock. Kyogre was made to form the oceans, and it formed them using the standard Water Pokémon method. Kyogre has a water-storage sac enormous and strong enough to hold entire seas in its immense grasp. To control the water, it has infinitesimally small pores that release it in seemingly impossible fashions. Just a vaster version of a regular Pokémon organ system.

The behemoth master of earth does not attack like that at all. Rather than storing rock in its body, it smashes into the ground with its massive weight to crack it, and then delivers a thermal blast to the Earth’s interior. This propels all adjacent lithosphere parts at Groudon’s foes. This mechanism could also be the way the move Earthquake works.

Though the two legends are Pokémon, they are not related to the ones Mew made after the Earth was constructed. The Pokémon tree of life is complicated, and the legendaries are separated from the “normal” ones. The former are the builders of the universe, and had abilities not unlike what came after.

Chapter 11: Pokémon Sociology

Genetics is a far-reaching field, and one that has been studied since humans came to be. As a result of genetic studies, people bred things in a “favorable” manner, basically meaning into the way they wanted said things to be. They did this despite the potential consequences to the things, like disease and inability to function correctly. To them, it did not matter.

This can relate to the many unnatural features of certain Pokémon species at birth, like uneven gender ratios and Buneary’s ability Disuse. The idea of how this works, simply put, is that selective breeding tampered with natural processes. The idea elaborated? Lengthy explanation time…

Some Buneary, unlike other species, cannot hold items. This cannot be caused by any limb problems, as Pokémon like Ekans don’t even have any and can still hold things. This was caused, then, by breeders who didn’t think holding things was attractive. To stop the holding “menace”, they found a few Buneary who didn’t like to hold things due to a natural brain disorder. The group was inbred until they became a substantial part of the Buneary population. Many were released into the wild, and the damage to the species’ gene pool still remains.

Certain “masculine” or “feminine”-looking Pokémon became popular with the gender they looked like. When the market for these species as pets became big business, selective breeding was used again to cripple a population of Pokémon for profit. To make most of a species male or female, they bred Pokémon with contrasting gender-determination systems.

Certain chromosomes, or structures of DNA carrying many genes, make you what gender you are. These “sex chromosomes” are usually in pairs, with a female having two “X” type ones and a male having one “X” and one “Y” type. Usually. For some Pokémon, this system is reversed. By taking advantage of that, breeders made certain species more male than female population-wise, and vice versa. Ecologists are desperately trying to restore the gender balance, but the popularity of gender-specific pets has so far overcome them.

Chapter 12: Window Into Minds

Fantasy and reality are relative. You take for granted what is real and what is not. But yet, through the “real” perspective, it is easier to explain an elaborate deception than a seemingly impossible truth. There is a fine line between the two. Ghosts are smoke and mirrors. Psychics are real.

How can I assume this when I threw aside the concept of Ghost Pokémon? Because Psychic abilities can’t be lies. The Pokémon can actually delve inside another’s consciousness, can actually teleport faster than light, and can actually move things without touching them. What they do can’t be faked.

Did I say Ghosts were the hardest things for a Pokémon geneticist to explain? Ha.

From our standpoint, Psychic Pokémon do impossible things. From our standpoint, that is. The Pokémon can be explained, from seeing the future to teleporting. But this takes an idea so unimaginably difficult to grasp that we literally aren’t supposed to understand it. We are creatures of spatial existence, and cannot control how we move through the flow of time. The fourth dimension. Psychic Pokémon are not so limited.

As three-dimensional entities, we have the dimensions of height, length, and depth. We move through the fourth dimension, time, without the control we move through the first three. A four-dimensional entity could potentially move through space/time as freely. This explains teleportation if you look at it a certain way. Imagine it like this. You have a piece of paper with two points on it. To get from point A to point B, you can move across the paper, or use the third dimension to your advantage. The latter means folding the paper in such a way that it takes no time to get to point B by putting one point next to the other. Clearly, the use of higher dimensions is faster. Using the fourth dimension, Psychics can move across 3-d space like you move across the folded paper.

Psychic Pokémon are immersed in the three spatial dimensions as we would be in a 2-d plane. Their shape, though, is like that of animals, so they fit in. But being not of this dimension has its benefits, like being able to warp space in a way that moves objects. Or being able to use proteins to examine the thoughts of an opponent without being hindered by the 3-d walls of the body. Or being able to see the future.

All this raises the question of how Psychics and non-Psychics interbreed. Simply put, the 4-d Pokémon are immersed in the third dimension in such a way that they can perform functions like 3-d ones. They have adapted so that they can breed with the rest, and even their genes function in the dimensional immersion state. Of course, this brings weaknesses as well, as they can be hurt by beings of the third dimension. Also, they are particularly susceptible to Ghost-type brain manipulation due to small flaws in the dimensional immersion sometimes exposing the brain.

But what of Dark types? They are somehow immune to both telekinetic and telepathic assaults, despite being rooted in the spatial dimensions. Well, basically, they intercept signals of Ghost and Psychics and turn them back at their foes. The severe mental shock of a counterattack makes the attacking Pokémon more overwhelmed by ferocious Dark-type fury.

The mind is a funny thing. Sometimes, events seem to go by too fast, sometimes too slow. For Psychic type Pokémon, they go by only when the mind wants them to.

Chapter 13: Conclusion

In conclusion, I am insane. All good scientists are. It is important to know how everything can be made sense of by insane scientists. Except for Arceus. But we’re looking into that.

Page last modified August 12 2016 at 22:34 GMT