(provided by Amanda)
What is the "x-gene" defined as?
The x-gene is not a single gene, but rather part of the X-gene complex. The X-gene is one discrete complex within the genome (which gives you your markers to find "the X-gene") but with the manifestations being differing complexes of genes within that X-gene (and possibly other alterations within the other parts of the genome where required). The expression of genes is NOT related to you having them.
Everyone has vast quantities of genes that turn on and off at different points in their lives, primarily due to different environmental triggers. And the trigger for one gene turning on, can then lead to a cascade effect of others turning on. And some never turn on - for example, we all have things called oncogenes, which will give you cancer if they turn on. For many, many, many people in the world, these oncogenes never turn on and you don't get cancer.
So, basically, for example, Kurt Sefton would have had the X-gene in his genome and certain changes to his physiology expressed during the fetal development process - thus his physical manifestations that were obvious at birth. However, he had other parts of his X-gene that required different triggers to express; when he hit puberty and certain hormonal processes started working, those parts of his X-gene complex expressed. And hey presto, teleportation.
In genetic terms, the spontaneous abortion rate in the mutant population would have to be immense... Genetically, what happens to X-mutants is beyond the realms of anything sane. Mutations that cause large-scale physical changes are, in the VAST majority of cases, deleterious. Generally to the point of the fetus spontaneously aborting early in gestation (in human terms, before most women know they're pregnant). Certainly to the point of seriously ongoing health problems.
Testing for the X-Gene
How is the x-gene tested for?
Testing for the x-gene complex is a straightforward DNA test, same as paternity testing. Cheek scrapings, hair, blood, etc. can all be tested for the x-gene.
What can be determined from the test?
Simply the presence or absence of an active x-gene complex. Powers and magnitude are much, much more difficult to predict or detect. The very small (statistically) mutant population, most of whom wouldn't agree to testing for various very good reason, means that it would be very difficult to determine specific markers for genes that would appear in say telepaths only. Therefore it is impossible at this point in time to test for specific powers or even power sets.
What sort of tests are available, and how do they differ?
The main test available was developed in the late ninties by Nathaniel Essex and his team at Johns Hopkins. It is a non-invasive DNA scan that takes about 10 minutes to complete and about two weeks to analyze. It's use in the US has been limited due to legal challenges and state by state legislation. The scanner is about the size/expense of a modern MRI machine.
How common are testing facilities and the equipment capable of determining mutancy?
Arcade developed an updated scanner that analyzes blood for a mutant signature, but it is spotty and hasn't been distributed outside of his network.
Facilities are also available in major hospitals across the US.
What countries have mandatory testing?
Currently, the only country that has been established in X-Project as having mandatory testing for the x-gene is Canada.
Canada tests children between 6-10 as part of the health system, in order to ensure appropriate training and management is employed as per the Omega Flight program.
It can be assumed, however, that various countries also have mandatory tests for a number of reasons, from controlling the mutant population to weaponisation projects to diverting mutants into special programs. Post M-Day, it can be assumed there is strong political pressure in more countries to introduce mandatory testing.
In what circumstances are individuals tested for the x-gene?
In countries where testing is not mandatory, it can be conducted for a number of reasons:
- Health: In circumstances where an illness may be related to a mutation, medical facilities will order testing as part of the normal diagnostic procedure.
- Social Welfare: If an individual may be at risk of harming themselves or others with an undisclosed mutation, testing can be ordered.
- Prison Security: For the protection of prisoners and staff, testing is conducted to determine if there is a risk of a young detainee manifesting in prison.
- Privately Funded Testing: In much the same way paternity tests can be paid for and conducted at the behest of individuals, x-gene testing can also be obtained. It is, however, expensive and not always accurate, depending on which test is being conducted and if the service is a reputable one.