The Intersection of Science and Fantasy: The Genetics of Harry Potter

Photo by Brandilyn Carpenter

How do we get half-blood wizards? How can two pure-blood wizards produce a squib? How do the Weasleys all have red hair? On Saturday afternoon in Marriott A601–602, the room next door to Mr. Barty Crouch, Jr. himself—as well as The Tenth Doctor, and most recently Good Omens’ Crowley— David Tennant, Duke University Professor of Biology, Ethan P. Spana, PhD led the audience on a journey through the science to answer these crucial Harry Potter series–related questions, and more.

The discussion started by defining the terms to be used, stating assumptions, and providing the research materials. Following the scientific method and logic, Spana took the audience from the simple Punnett squares of high school biology and the definition of the genome, through dominant and recessive traits and on to gene mutations that allow dominant traits to be superseded.

While I would love to explain the entire logical reasoning to you here in the pages of the Daily Dragon, all I can do it highly suggest you watch for this panel on a future year’s schedule, and be the first in line. One other suggestion I can make is, do as Spana suggested and never stop questioning. Research, reason, and learn then spread that knowledge to others.

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