Being your own mother

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Being your own mother

Postby Ephemeron » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:05 pm UTC

Imagine this time travel scenario: a woman travels back in time. She has sex with a strange man, and gets pregnant. The strange man turns out to be her father, and the baby turns out to be... herself.

Is this biologically possible? (Besides the fact that half of her genetic information has to come out of nowhere) But is it possible for the woman's uterus be able to support a fetus that is genetically identical to itself?
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby AvatarIII » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:59 pm UTC

Ephemeron wrote:Imagine this time travel scenario: a woman travels back in time. She has sex with a strange man, and gets pregnant. The strange man turns out to be her father, and the baby turns out to be... herself.

Is this biologically possible? (Besides the fact that half of her genetic information has to come out of nowhere) But is it possible for the woman's uterus be able to support a fetus that is genetically identical to itself?

I'd say, of course it's possible. and half her genetic information doesn't have to come out of nowhere, the bigger problem would be that her DNA would have to go unchanged through the process of Meiosis, which is probably impossible,

Image

DNA gets mixed up when creating gametes, but I suppose, say both chromosomes were exactly the same, then in that image they would both be Red, the mixing would come out with the same chromosomes as went in, but the only way that is possible is if her father had exactly the same genes too, which is pretty damn unlikely, unless her father is a male clone of her, or perhaps a sibling, or son.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby idobox » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:54 pm UTC

Fry did that, but he's a man.

Also, there is parthogenesis that would resolve the genetic paradox.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:08 pm UTC

Does parthenogenesis in vertebrates create clones, or daughters? I was under the impression that it's creating daughters.

In any case, what you outlined is effectively the story of Enkei: Enkei kept boning the subsequent daughters of this woman. Given the loop you've outlined, you'd effectively end up with an astoundingly inbred human being, whose genomic material is probably entirely the fathers.

Oh! Cool: if you switch the sexes, you effectively end up with a clone of the father. That is, a male goes back in time, and mates with a woman, and the offspring ends up being him. The loop would make it so that he was effectively cloning himself.

Wait... I didn't think that through; clone mating with father is not the same as mating with father on the timeline.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Soralin » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:14 pm UTC

Or taking that even further: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E2%80%94A ... s%E2%80%94
"'—All You Zombies—'" chronicles a young man (later revealed to be intersex) taken back in time and tricked into impregnating his younger, female self (before he underwent a sex change); he thus turns out to be the offspring of that union, with the paradoxical result that he is his own mother and father. As the story unfolds, all the major characters are revealed to be the same person, at different stages of her/his life.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Charlie! » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:24 am UTC

There's an additional complication - her ovum would have to have 0 mutations as it was produced from itself! So we're really into the realm of magic powers here.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Turtlewing » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:55 pm UTC

Well, like most time travel thought experiments: If you aren't too attached to causality than I don't see a problem (shit just happens).

If you want too keep causality you might need to go "many worlds interpretation", and figure that there are two universes who swap women, each woman's DNA is such that when she goes back in time (to the other universe) her child ends up being the other woman. So from the perspective of each universe, a woman arrives from the future, has a child, and the child grows up to go back into the past. And from the perspective of each woman, she is born, goes back in time, get's pregnant, and givers birth to a child who later in life goes back in time. There would of coarse also be a whole bunch of universes with other variants ranging from miscarriages to more Sarah Conner like time traveling pregnancies, and neither woman is a clone of her mother.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Xanthir » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:48 pm UTC

Ephemeron wrote:Imagine this time travel scenario: a woman travels back in time. She has sex with a strange man, and gets pregnant. The strange man turns out to be her father, and the baby turns out to be... herself.

Is this biologically possible? (Besides the fact that half of her genetic information has to come out of nowhere) But is it possible for the woman's uterus be able to support a fetus that is genetically identical to itself?

Yes, it's biologically possible to carry a clone to term. There's nothing special about this.

You are correct that half her genetic information comes from nowhere (the half from her "mother's" side). This is a common paradox in time-travel scenarios that involve time loops.

While Charlie! is correct to note that random mutations in the ovum make it very unlikely that the fetus will end up with identical genetics, the Novikov self-consistency principle would ensure that either no such mutations exist, or that she is not, in fact, her own mother.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Tass » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:16 pm UTC

If the second law comes from the boundary conditions of low entropy in the past, but absence of such a restraint in the future, then there is no problem with mutations. The piece of space time with a closed timelike loop will simply not have a second law as we know it, since it will be partly bound be the cyclic boundary conditions of the loop. The pieces of genetic material with no origin will simply be whatever is necessary to make the loop happen. They may even mutate and then mutate back in the course of the loop.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:35 pm UTC

Charlie! wrote:There's an additional complication - her ovum would have to have 0 mutations as it was produced from itself! So we're really into the realm of magic powers here.


0 mutations, or coincidentally the mutated genome ends up being exactly the same as it was originally, or all the mutations just so happen to be counteracted in meiosis or conception.

in any case, it would be pretty much Magic By Any Other Name
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Tass » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:11 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
Charlie! wrote:There's an additional complication - her ovum would have to have 0 mutations as it was produced from itself! So we're really into the realm of magic powers here.


0 mutations, or coincidentally the mutated genome ends up being exactly the same as it was originally, or all the mutations just so happen to be counteracted in meiosis or conception.

in any case, it would be pretty much Magic By Any Other Name


It would not be magic, it would be imposed by the self-consistent boundary conditions of the loop.

I am sitting in a room with a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius full of oxygen with a wooden desk, that is an incredibly unlikely state for these atoms. This lack of entropy is not magic, it is the result of a boundary condition of an early universe of very low entropy.

Now of course the entire thing with someone being their own parent being the self-consitent story happening is probably very unlikely. I guess it is much more likely for no closed timelike curves to happen around intelligent beings (if at all), but these things are not easy to calculate.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:54 pm UTC

Tass wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
Charlie! wrote:There's an additional complication - her ovum would have to have 0 mutations as it was produced from itself! So we're really into the realm of magic powers here.


0 mutations, or coincidentally the mutated genome ends up being exactly the same as it was originally, or all the mutations just so happen to be counteracted in meiosis or conception.

in any case, it would be pretty much Magic By Any Other Name


It would not be magic, it would be imposed by the self-consistent boundary conditions of the loop.

I am sitting in a room with a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius full of oxygen with a wooden desk, that is an incredibly unlikely state for these atoms. This lack of entropy is not magic, it is the result of a boundary condition of an early universe of very low entropy.

Now of course the entire thing with someone being their own parent being the self-consitent story happening is probably very unlikely. I guess it is much more likely for no closed timelike curves to happen around intelligent beings (if at all), but these things are not easy to calculate.


any sufficiently confusing technobabble is indistinguishable from magicbabble
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Xanthir » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:48 pm UTC

Tass wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
Charlie! wrote:There's an additional complication - her ovum would have to have 0 mutations as it was produced from itself! So we're really into the realm of magic powers here.


0 mutations, or coincidentally the mutated genome ends up being exactly the same as it was originally, or all the mutations just so happen to be counteracted in meiosis or conception.

in any case, it would be pretty much Magic By Any Other Name


It would not be magic, it would be imposed by the self-consistent boundary conditions of the loop.

I am sitting in a room with a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius full of oxygen with a wooden desk, that is an incredibly unlikely state for these atoms. This lack of entropy is not magic, it is the result of a boundary condition of an early universe of very low entropy.

Now of course the entire thing with someone being their own parent being the self-consitent story happening is probably very unlikely. I guess it is much more likely for no closed timelike curves to happen around intelligent beings (if at all), but these things are not easy to calculate.

It's not impossible for the DNA to be the same, and thus to have a stable cycle, but I suspect (without having done any math whatsoever) that when you sum over consistent histories it's still an unlikely occurrence, so that the most likely thing is still that it never occurred at all.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Tass » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:09 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:
Tass wrote:It would not be magic, it would be imposed by the self-consistent boundary conditions of the loop.

I am sitting in a room with a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius full of oxygen with a wooden desk, that is an incredibly unlikely state for these atoms. This lack of entropy is not magic, it is the result of a boundary condition of an early universe of very low entropy.

Now of course the entire thing with someone being their own parent being the self-consitent story happening is probably very unlikely. I guess it is much more likely for no closed timelike curves to happen around intelligent beings (if at all), but these things are not easy to calculate.

It's not impossible for the DNA to be the same, and thus to have a stable cycle, but I suspect (without having done any math whatsoever) that when you sum over consistent histories it's still an unlikely occurrence, so that the most likely thing is still that it never occurred at all.


Indeed. You pretty much repeated my last paragraph there.

(I haven't done any math either, as I said it is exceedingly hard in all but the very simplest cases.)

AvatarIII wrote:any sufficiently confusing technobabble is indistinguishable from magicbabble


Indeed. Though that is not particularly relevant here.

More relevant is that a sufficiently advanced and brief technical explanation is indistinguishable from technobabble to the sufficiently uneducated.

Fortunately that has a remedy. If you would like a more detailed explanation just say so.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Xanthir » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:02 am UTC

Tass wrote:
Xanthir wrote:
Tass wrote:It would not be magic, it would be imposed by the self-consistent boundary conditions of the loop.

I am sitting in a room with a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius full of oxygen with a wooden desk, that is an incredibly unlikely state for these atoms. This lack of entropy is not magic, it is the result of a boundary condition of an early universe of very low entropy.

Now of course the entire thing with someone being their own parent being the self-consitent story happening is probably very unlikely. I guess it is much more likely for no closed timelike curves to happen around intelligent beings (if at all), but these things are not easy to calculate.

It's not impossible for the DNA to be the same, and thus to have a stable cycle, but I suspect (without having done any math whatsoever) that when you sum over consistent histories it's still an unlikely occurrence, so that the most likely thing is still that it never occurred at all.


Indeed. You pretty much repeated my last paragraph there.

(I haven't done any math either, as I said it is exceedingly hard in all but the very simplest cases.)

Kinda, but not quite. You're making a stronger claim, that Novikov self-consistency may prevent CTCs from forming at all around intelligent beings. I don't think this is supportable - there are many cases in which it seems easy to imagine a self-consistent history with time-travel. I was simply claiming that the specific scenario in question (having a child where your half of the DNA didn't mutate at all) was unlikely.
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Re: Being your own mother

Postby Tass » Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:57 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:
Tass wrote:Indeed. You pretty much repeated my last paragraph there.

(I haven't done any math either, as I said it is exceedingly hard in all but the very simplest cases.)

Kinda, but not quite. You're making a stronger claim, that Novikov self-consistency may prevent CTCs from forming at all around intelligent beings. I don't think this is supportable - there are many cases in which it seems easy to imagine a self-consistent history with time-travel. I was simply claiming that the specific scenario in question (having a child where your half of the DNA didn't mutate at all) was unlikely.


Oh right. I actually meant to make your claim too, but I can see that I was too brief so it got lost on the way.

But I fear most humans would have such a strong urge to try to mess with causality that any time travel story at all would be pretty unlikely, at least if making the loops is directly under control of the brain (owning a time machine). A self consistent history where everyone who wants to can acquire a time machine is pretty hard to imagine. The most probably way to make this self-consistent would probably be for something to happen which prevents the spread of knowledge of time machines.
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