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So, in my post-nuclear US, a form of mutant, called “Screamers” are somewhat prevalent. They are stronger and stockier than humans, and are hairless and greenish-beige pigmented. As it turns out, Screamers aren’t the sole product of radiation alone. As many post nuclear scientist will tell you, Genetic Mutation Syndrome is caused by Gene M. Gene M, when exposed to radioactive dosages, will transform a human into a screamer.

Gene M has always existed within humankind. Including back in August 1945. In my worlds lore, Screamers didn’t start coming up until people were exposed to nuclear levels of radiation during the Great War (Radiation from Reactors doesn’t do the job) But, since the people were exposed to radiation form nuclear bombs in the two cities, my question is:

How can I explain why Screamers weren’t created in Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s Aftermath’s?

  • I’m not a biologist, so if my explanation for becoming a screamer isn’t airtight, please correct me in the comments.
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  • $\begingroup$ How would you explain Tsjernobil not creating a bunch? Or the nuclear tests prior to the nuclear strikes? Or why Madam Curie didn't turn into one herself? $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Nov 22 '18 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ The radiation in Japan was different, giving rise to cool, enormous Godzilla and friends instead of screamers. It was a difference in, say, the neutron flux. Or maybe the amount of cobalt. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Nov 22 '18 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ Bethesda called, they want their ideas from Fallout back. $\endgroup$ – Renan Nov 22 '18 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ They didn't take all the good ones... perhaps all the good ones for your taste... yet, even if they did, all you have to do is mix them up. Humans do not create ex nihilo, everything is a remix, stand in the shoulders of giants (Orion, for example), you can light a candle from the flame of another without diminishing it, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Addendum: you are all playing ultima. $\endgroup$ – Theraot Nov 23 '18 at 2:17
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    $\begingroup$ I down-voted this because of the lazy dependence of the fantastically overused and scientifically nonsensical trope "radiation causes instant evolution of lots of new features". Using radiation as a driver for sudden "mutation" (this is the wrong term, what you have is "extremely rapid speciation") is kind of like setting the table for a thanksgiving dinner... then get a machine-gun and shoot at the whole setup for 5 minutes, and expect to end up with a fully stocked picnic basket ready for an outing. No, you end up with rubble comprised of splinters, shards, bits of food and dented cutlery. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Nov 23 '18 at 9:25
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Sola dosis facit venenum

The activation of the gene M requires exposition of the subject to a minimum dose. Below the threshold the gene is not activated.

In Hiroshima and Nagasaki the only one to be exposed above the threshold were vaporized by the bombs, while the others were cured, by removing the radioactive contamination, before reaching it.

After your Great War there was nobody to take care of decontaminating the targeted areas, so many got beyond the threshold and mutated.

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    $\begingroup$ This is the obviously correct answer, since it's always all about the dose. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 22 '18 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ This is a good answer. One consequence however, is that Feral Ghouls... ahem ...I mean, "Screamers", likely wouldn't appear immediately after the bombs fell, but rather after a longer period of exposure to fallout. $\endgroup$ – Arkenstein XII Nov 22 '18 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Arkenstein XII: Really man. I’m sorry, but Fallout took all the good ideas. If you can give any suggestions on how to fix it, I’ll gladly except $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Nov 22 '18 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul Don't worry, mate. It was meant in jest. Honestly, when it comes to worldbuilding, sometimes you just have to steal or adapt existing ideas, and there's nothing wrong with that! $\endgroup$ – Arkenstein XII Nov 23 '18 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul it's not the idea, it's the implementation. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 23 '18 at 4:42
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You could combine new chemical and environmental factors. For example, the U.S. could have a large number of Ecstasy addicts whose gene M become susceptible to mutation from nuclear radiation, while no one in WW2 Japan ever took Ecstasy. Maybe the consumption of beef with Mad Cow Disease somehow makes that gene stronger when both non-mutant parents are infected. Other environmental culprits could be Roundup, genetically modified corn, MMR vaccination, etc.

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Maybe the M gene is simply more prevalent in American populations than in Japanese ones or you could say that the atom bombs back in 1945 didn’t produce the required dose of radiation in large enough amounts or spread radiation to a large surface area . More advanced bombs later however don’t have these issues

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Gene M is a recent mutation.

The nuclear bombs in 1945 had no Gene M to affect. We didn't have any way of analysing DNA in those days. The double-helix hadn't even been discovered then.

The reason that Gene M has spread rapidly is that it confers some unknown benefit. Compare with Sickle-cell anaemia conferring protection against Malaria.

You could appeal to Rupert Sheldrake's Morphic Resonance for this mutation happening simultaneously all over the world. https://www.sheldrake.org/essays/rat-learning-and-morphic-resonance

Sickle cell disease is caused by a mutation in the hemoglobin-Beta gene found on chromosome 11.

People develop sickle-cell disease, a condition in which the red blood cells are abnormally shaped, if they inherit two faulty copies of the gene for the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin. The faulty gene persists because even carrying one copy of it confers some resistance to malaria.

How sickle-cell carriers fend off malaria https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20450-how-sickle-cell-carriers-fend-off-malaria/

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  • $\begingroup$ As long as it's understood that Morphic Resonance is pseudoscience, it's perfectly valid for fiction... $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 23 '18 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn - I agree $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Nov 23 '18 at 19:46
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They were created. However after they were first discovered all knowledge of them was covered up by the nuclear powers, the idea of innocent children and other civilians being mutated into disgusting creatures would've been far too damaging. Nuclear weapons and power is already controversial so anything like that would completely turn public opinion against anything nuclear.

The screamers could have also been experimented on by various governments to understand their military potential so were deemed classified, and every time they have been created accidentally they have been exterminated or locked away. Remember that meeting between Trump and Obama with Trump looking dishevelled and nervous, yeah that's when he learned about the screamers lurking in every humans DNA.

After a nuclear apocalypse then thousands/millions were created, there are no governments or the government's are too weak to continue covering it up.

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Gene M activation is energy dependent

A fusion reaction, deuterium + tritium, produces a neutron with 14.1 MeV of energy. A fission reaction produces an average of 2.5 neutrons with a mean energy of 2 MeV per neutron.

This energy difference can be the cause of your difference. Energy in a neutron will quickly be lost as the neutron collides into some other atom. Once that collision happens, the neutron transfers some of its energy to some other atom. The other atom is now highly energetic, in an excited state. This means that it electrons are in orbits 'above' were they would normally be. Over time, the electrons will lose this energy by emitting photons.

Depending on the atom, the photons can only have certain energy levels. This is called quantization. This explains why atoms can only absorb or emit energetic photons in certain wavelengths, because only those photons have the appropriate energy level to bump an electron from one quantized state to another.

So, what you say is, the high energy gamma radation that can cause the M gene mutation can only be produced by the interaction of the 14 MeV neutron from a fusion reaction with ____ whatever you want to make up to fill in the blank. Its probably best to just leave that ambiguous. But, the reaction of the neutron with ____ then leads to gamma emission, and that gamma emission can travel long distances, penetrate objects and skin, and cause the required mutation.

TL;DR

The energy of a fission reaction's neutrons is not high enough to cause this mutation. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fission only weapons. Modern nuclear weapons are fission/fusion hybrids, so they will be able to cause the mutation.

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Seeing as you want Gene M to have exestes all along, a few options you could use would be: 1) Due to the radiation released in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Japanese people from the surrounding areas are now immune. 2) The Screamers from that explotion were contained by the newly formed UN before the public learned of them and were one of the main reasons to form a peace treaty. 3) The early nukes disintegratied the people before they could mutate. And finally, 4) The first two nukes were not enough to create Screamers and full nuclear war was required. Anyways, there’s a few ideas to add, hope they help!

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