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Consider a hypothetical species -- lets call them Exian for ease of reference -- that, besides the "normal" manner of reproduction (i.e. a male and female Exian produce gametes that fuse into a zygote), can reproduce in any of the following modes:

  1. An Exian infects a genetically and biochemically compatible non-Exian with a virus that rewrites their gametes' genomes to produce a part-Exian hybrid.
  2. An Exian acquires gametes from a genetically and biochemically compatible non-Exian -- whether by natural insemination, extracting the gametes directly from the gonads, or transplanting the gonads into the Exian's body and connecting them to the Exian's reproductive system -- and infects those gametes with a virus that rewrites their genomes to produce a part-Exian hybrid.
  3. An Exian infects an embryo (in utero for live-bearing species, or in ovis for egg-laying ones) of a genetically and biochemically compatible non-Exian species with a virus that rewrites their genome to convert them into a part-Exian hybrid.

For these alternative modes, what plausible scientific terminology -- whether pre-existing or neologized -- could apply to them? I am particularly hoping that I could give each mode a distinct term of its own.

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    $\begingroup$ A klepton is a "species that requires input from another biological taxon [...] to complete their reproductive cycle" (Wikipedia). The best known example is the edible frog, Pelophylax kl. esculentus (formerly known as Rana esculenta). $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 22 '17 at 10:31
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I mentioned kleptogenesis in my (partial) answer below. $\endgroup$ – MarqFJA87 Jun 22 '17 at 12:05
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For my part, mode #2 seems to be an obvious fit for the pre-existing term "kleptogenesis", as it involves the Exian acquiring "input" from another species, as per the term's definition. In comparison, the other two modes involve the Exian providing "output" to a member of another species. Feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken, though.

That said, I'm drawing blanks on modes #1 and #3, though.

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In #1 your creatures use the gamethes of another specie, so you can use allogamic, from the Greek allos, "others".

In #3, as they are rewriting or scripting the code of the cells, you can use scriptogenesis.

In #2 I would go for an hybrid of the previous two, and use scriptogamic

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I have no improvement for your existing suggestion for #2, "kleptogenesis." Sounds like you're essentially making Exian mules, though, so you could do something based on that ("mulogenesis?") if you're trying to go less fancy for some reason.

After reading #1 several times, I can't see the difference between it and #2; it seems like just a slightly less specific description, or a more general case. (I may not be understand what degree of control over the gametes is meant in #2.) For now, I think instead of a different term, #1 could be served by a prefix. "Hyperkleptogenesis"?

For #3, I was immediately reminded of the cuckoo bird and brood parasitism, but on a smaller scale. I also eventually remembered genetic transduction, maybe because you mentioned viruses? "Transductigenesis" might be somewhat more accurate, although I suppose it could strictly apply to any of the cases, but I have to say I'm getting a real kick out of "cuckoogenesis."

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually, rather than mules, I'm making them like Warhammer 40,000's Genestealers or the Alien franchise's Xenomorphs. As for the difference between #1 and #2, the former is strictly an invasively active method where the Exian injects the host organism with the viral vector. Meanwhile, in #2 the viral vectors remain within the Exian's body, and it's the gametes that are taken into said body by any means necessary, be it "passive" (e.g. natural insemination) or "active" (e.g. castrating a male host and transplanting the testicles into the Exian's own reproductive system). $\endgroup$ – MarqFJA87 Jun 24 '17 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ At the same time, #2 allows the Exian more control over the viral genome-rewriting, as they may choose to only affect a portion of the acquired gametes. And yeah #3 does seem pretty much "brood parasitism, with the parasitic brood in question being an embryo". More generally, it would help if I could figure out the appropiate Greek word for "invade", since that's what sets #1 and #3 apart from #2: In them, the Exian's genetic material is sent out into the host's body, while in #2 it's the host's genetic material that is taken in (a la kleptogenesis). $\endgroup$ – MarqFJA87 Jun 24 '17 at 14:05
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Hijacking is a fine term that describes what the Exians are up to. The word derives from highway and jacking but has an emergent meaning: hijacking a bus is not the same as robbing the bus. A hijacked bus has been commandeered by the hijacker and used for his own purposes. This is especially true for a hijacked computer. The Exians are hijacking the biology of another species for their own reproductive purposes.

Hijackogenesis is my offer. It does not have a very sweet ring to it. I was not able to find Latin or Greek equivalents for "hijack".

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    $\begingroup$ That's a good term if op intends a negative slant to the practice. If the story includes characters that are more neutral about this practice, perhaps other Latin terms like misceo = mix, mingle, blend, join, combine, mix up and resemino = reproduce could be used together for "misceoresemination" for any of the ones that involve hybrid production. Of course, the term "hybridization" already describes the creation of hybrids. $\endgroup$ – N2ition Jun 24 '17 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Will: Yeah, "hijacking" definitely fits as an overall term for all of those modes. As for a Greek equivalent, the closest that I could find is απάγω (apago), meaning "kidnap, abduct". No idea how to make a combining form out of that, though. $\endgroup$ – MarqFJA87 Jun 24 '17 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ @N2ition: Kleptogenesis is a real-life term, and yet doesn't have any negative connotations about the practice itself. $\endgroup$ – MarqFJA87 Jun 24 '17 at 14:11

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