What Kirill Got Wrong and What He Got Right: Words from a Genetics Major

Just imagine this is me, bugging the person I refer to in this post… (Source: Double Decker! OP)

I mentioned in this round-up I know an Honours student who’s a genetics major, so I figured I’d see what she says about Kirill’s information in episode 10 of Double Decker!.

Meta context: I wanted to have this post checked over once more before I put it out, but…a year passed and I still haven’t gotten the person to check it. So you can have the version which hasn’t been checked over.

After the ED and the post-credits scene for episode 9, the next episode preview showed Kirill with a diagram of what was obviously DNA (from the words “dormant genes” written under it) and him scribbling over a blue section of his diagram with a green and yellow marker. Since I haven’t studied biology in a while, I figured I’d ask the one person who would know something about this – the Honours student I mention above. When I got to Double Decker‘s episode 10, she’d already finished her Honours degree in evolutionary dynamics, so rather than bug her about the accuracy of Cells at Work! (which she’d heard about from her fellow science people), I figured she’d be more useful in telling me how accurate this was.

Kirill proves he’s smart…but maybe not smart enough. (Source: Double Decker! episode 9 next ep preview)

At the time of the next episode preview, she said she’d need to know what the rest of Kirill’s board said, since only “dormant genes” and “gene recombination” were the only words visible, plus something else in black was cut off. This term turned out to be “namal genes” (sic), which I’d assume would be a misspelling of “normal genes”. (If you convert “normal” to katakana to get ノーマル and/or account for the handwriting, it would make sense…that’s my ideas based on what she said, anyway. I didn’t notice it was written “namal” until she pointed it out…)

According to her, “dormant genes” is the term you would use only if you were trying to use layman’s terms; for instance if you somehow got a scientist on the news to explain concepts of genetics. “Like an arts major trying to explain science terms,” she put it, as I tried to correct her that was called “artistic licence”.

She also showed me a diagram of histones before flipping back a page in her textbook (which she was using as a way to illustrate stuff she was talking about) and finding the diagram she wanted, which I thought looked more like a diagram for showing osmosis through a cell wall rather than something about DNA.

Then again, there was what appeared to be a restriction enzyme in the diagram (in green) and I did remember learning about that years ago…but when I got to the episode, Kirill’s green blob is a bacterium, so this assumption of mine would be wrong.

However, bacteria can be a vector, much like bees are a potential vector for pollination of flowers. As for whether “normal genes” is accurate…again, that’s a layman’s term, with the accurate term being dormant genes. Otherwise, the episode did actually have the basics of what is called horizontal gene transfer (the thing Kirill does on the board). This horizontal gene transfer seems to have some interesting implications for both Double Decker! and Tiger and Bunny, assuming the two really are linked somehow…we, as viewers, just need to know how exactly the shows are related outside the artstyle and general urban aesthetic…

While I was at it, I also bugged her about a few other potential scientific flip-flops:

Is Kirill’s paper’s title, On the Potentialities of Silent Genes, accurate in a scientific context?

Again, “potentialities” is not the word that would be used in a proper genetics context, but rather the more natural-sounding “possibilities”, while “silent genes” is the layman’s term for – wait for it – dormant genes. You’d only use the correct terminology with experts, though.

Sidebar: This is my own observation after discussing this stuff with her but interestingly, the title of the paper seems to mirror the structure of the title On the Origin of Species…so I headcanon Kirill was trying to be more pretentious-sounding than he really is when he wrote the paper.

Would the age bracket for when Kirill wrote the paper be accurate? (Kirill is stated to be 20 in the show, so some maths + what Apple said means he wrote the paper at the age of 15)

Her answer in this case was that there are all sorts of people who show scientific aptitude when they’re young and use it to their advantage. She’d previously emailed me something about Chinese children whose parents wrote up resumes for their 5 year old children and so I mentioned it was kind of like that, and she agreed. So tl;dr: that’s a yes.

This post was interesting because much like Cells at Work!, Double Decker! got me to think about biology information I thought I’d forgotten.

So, has science ever shown up in anime or manga you didn’t expect it to, and if so, where?

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