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Wizardry in Potter ‘genes’

London, Dec. 22: If your wand is wanting, your spells lacklustre and your ability to zoom on a broomstick somewhat lacking, blame the genes you inherited from your parents, according to experts from Oxford University.

Villains in the Potter books make much of heredity and whether wizards are pure bloods, a blend of muggle and wizard, known as a half-blood, or just plain “mudbloods” of humdrum muggle descent.

Now an analysis of wizardry, published in the British Medical Journal, has concluded that there is indeed good evidence that magical abilities are passed down the generations. Based on an analysis of the Harry Potter novels, Sreeram Ramagopalan, Dr Marian Knight, George Ebers, and Julian Knight of Oxford’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, conclude that “magic shows strong evidence of heritability”.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows provides a lot of valuable information about magical families that strongly suggests a role for genetic factors,” says Knight, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow. “For example, magic exists in at least seven generations of the Black family and at least three generations in others. We also see twins — the Patil and Weasley twins — with the same magical abilities.”

“The way that we inherit pairs of genes, one copy from each our parents, can influence sorcery in three basic ways: if magical ability depends on just one copy of a version of a gene it is said to be dominant, and two, it is recessive.”

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