Spiderman Not a Mutant! It’s Science?

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Marvel once played an April Fools joke, telling their audience that Spiderman would be joining the X-men.

Disclaimer:  Although I have taken college courses explaining DNA and mutations, along with self-studying the subject due to my hunger in understanding the “science” behind the theory of evolution at depth.  In no way do I coin myself a geneticist and my extended knowledge on this subject matter is at bare minimum, but I believe it enough to get us through this little comic-book dilemma. 

I know that mutants belonging to the group of the X-men are born with, and carry the X-gene, thus allowing them the ability to naturally develop mutant powers.  Spiderman at one point was up for debate on whether he was a mutant and would be fitted for his X-men costume.  With a deeper look into the genetics of Peter Parker, Charles Xavier concluded he doesn’t possess this X-gene.  Disproving the theory he might be a mutant, putting the argument to rest by, gently, breaking it to Peter he wouldn’t be able to receive a scholarship to his school.  Although, Spiderman doesn’t fit the category of a mutant, he does, however, have a mutate making him a meta-human, but because he lacks the X-gene necessary to naturally attain his powers from, he will never be regarded as an X-men.

Mutations are simply changes in DNA.  We are made up of proteins, amino acids (together these acids make proteins) are the building blocks of life.  DNA is a protein, and if a change in this strand of information ensues then it can untimely change the organism that carries it in it’s cells.  DNA is transcribed to make messenger RNA (mRNA), which goes through translation to build proteins, and these proteins make us.  Simply put, if a mutation occurs in the DNA, altering the mRNA, which may either change the amino acids used or their sequence in the codon during translation causing a variation to occur, consequently changing our genetic make-up.  Not all mutations are bad, my apologies to ugly John, some are good – be thankful Wolverine!  There are two categories of mutations; spontaneous and induced mutations.  Induced are more common and are considered to be environmental, and may lead to either Substation, Insertion, or Deletion mutations.

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Substitution Mutation 

A type of point mutation where a single nucleotide is substituted or exchanged for another nucleotide.  This causes confusion during translation, resulting in an altered sequence of amino acids creating a different protein then was originally intended.  Sometimes these types of mutations cause no difference, in which case they are referred to as Silent Mutations (These are very Shy Mutants, unaware or their mutant genes)

insertion

Insertion

Insertion occurs when there is a break in the strand of DNA caused by radiation or chemicals (Mutagens).  We have proteins that are able to fix these breaks, but in some instances they repair this split by adding extra nucleotides, causing a shift during translation.

deletionDeletion

This one is simple.  Nucleotides in the parent strand (original) of DNA are missing, causing them to be deleted from the daughter strand (replica).

What’s not up for discussion is if Spiderman is a mutation or not, he is!  But Charles Xavier wasn’t trying to disprove that Peter Parker had a mutation in his DNA, what he was disproving was he carried the X-gene to define him as a mutant in the Marvel Universe.  Being born with the X-gene, is an example of a substitution mutation, while Spiderman obviously suffered” from insertion mutation.  So, technically Spiderman has a mutation, but within the Marvel Universe he’s not accepted or deemed a Mutant, because he doesn’t carry this X-gene.  Now, now settle down, I know some of you might be appalled, even thinking or accusing Charles Xavier and the X-men of discriminating against other types of mutants, by dismissing applications of these kinds into their institution!!!  “How could they?”  “They know what it feels like to be outcasted by society, and here they are telling Spiderman to go solo because he doesn’t obtain the genes required to be a part of their team.”  Without this standard for joining their team, then wouldn’t the whole Marvel Universe be considered a Mutant and up for consideration to unite on the X-men?  Most of the Marvel heroes are a product of mutations in some sense of the scientific definition; The Hulk, Captain America, Spiderman, Green Goblin.  Would you consider Spiderman to be a Mutant?  Discuss in the Comments below.

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