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I’ve always been a lost cause when it comes to math and science, so usually my eyes glaze over when there’s any talk of “formula” or “coefficient.” But I perked up when at Wired.com scientist and author Samuel Arbesman took on the question of inbreeding in Marvel’s X-Men universe. (It was the X-Men part, not the inbreeding, that piqued my interest, thankyouverymuch.)
Using as a guide Joe Stone’s X-Men Family Tree, with its lines designating clones, offspring nemeses and so on, Arbesman has determined that — surprise, surprise! — “there is no inbreeding whatsoever among the X-Men.” He does, however, raise an eyebrow at Ultimate Quicksilver and Ultimate Scarlet Witch.
“Despite the clones, immortality, and occasional mind control of comic books, the X-Men lack inbreeding,” he writes, “at least according to this chart. If we delve a bit deeper though, it turns out that the twin children of Magneto do have a sexual relationship. While no children have resulted from the union of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, this would have resulted in an astonishingly high inbreeding coefficient of 25 percent, similar to a Pharaoh.”