In thousands of laboratories across the globe, genetic manipulation is occurring. So, why not take that knowledge and apply it in magic? Most would answer that they do not know enough about genetic manipulation to perform such a change. Here, then, is a crash course in DNA magic.

There are many ways to cause DNA to change, most of them filled with large, scientific words that would bring a whole new meaning to esoteric magic. I will try to explain things in a simple and yet accurate way.

DNA Basics- DNA is considered a nucleic acid. It is made up of any combination of four nucleotides. A nucleotide is an organic monomer consisting of a five carbon sugar, a nitrogen base, and a phosphate group. The four nucleotides that make up DNA are Thymine, Adenine, Guanine, and Cytosine. These four are arranged in long strands, in infinite combinations.

It is the order that they are arranged in that matters, for their order translates into the gene's function.

Mutagenesis is the creation of a mutation in DNA. It is mutagenesis that we will concern ourselves with. Mutagenesis, too, has many ways it can occur. One way is to change the order that the nucleotides are in. Since the order or the nucleotides determines how the gene is expressed, if you change the order around, it will mean a different thing. For example, if you have the word “rat” and you change the order around to make the word “art,” you have two different words, meaning different things. But you used the same letters. It works the same way with DNA. If you change the order that the nucleotides are in, you change the meaning.

Another way to cause genetic change through nucleotides is by deleting or adding a nucleotide. To use the above example, if you delete the letter r from the above words, the word would then be “at.” If you added an “f” to the beginning of “art” then you would have the word “fart.” Just as you change meanings with words, you would change meanings in DNA. So, if you had a gene coded as “adenine, guanine, adenine,” and you added thymine to the sequence, then you would change the gene’s function.

The problem with this type of genetic change is that it is pretty unpredictable. It is difficult to predict what will happen if you just add a random thymine to a nucleotide sequence. Scientists are attempting to obtain this knowledge. They are currently mapping the nucleotide sequence of human DNA in the Human Genome Project. However, even scientists do not know how to translate each one of the sequences of nucleotides. Therefore, this method of genetic mutation would probably only be useful for those wishing to “hex” someone. I would not recommend using magick to rearrange a person’s DNA unless you truly had no care of what types of body parts they began to grow out of their rear end.

So we move on to another type of mutagenesis. This type deals with mutagens, or substances that cause a genetic mutation. One such substance that we are all familiar with is radiation. Radiation causes genetic mutation, though not the pretty kind.

There are many other chemicals and substances that cause various DNA changes, though I have not the time or space to list them all. This, too, can be a useful tool for those wishing to cause mutation on an enemy.

DNA is very long. Only about 3% of your DNA consists of genes. The rest of it is either junk, parts of viruses (such as HIV), or other things that scientists do not know the function of.

DNA also contains transposons. Transposons are also called “jumping genes.” They are parts of the DNA that can move from one segment of DNA to another. Sometimes a transposon will “jump” from its original location to the middle of another gene, disrupting that gene’s usual function, and thus altering it. I have a friend who attempted using magic to cause a transposon to “jump.” She ended up changing her eye color from brown to hazel. However, this too is a risky type of magic. The consolation, though, is that it is a rather simple change, and if something went wrong, it would be easier to fix. Also, since only 3% of your DNA makes up genes, it may take a bit of “jumping” to actually land in the middle of a gene.

And, finally, probably the best method of magical mutagenesis, genetic expression. Genes can be turned on and off. This is how your cells are so different. A nerve cell and a skin cell look very different, but all of your cells have the same DNA. This is because in a nerve cell, those genes dealing with skin structure are inactive, or turned off. So, you could use magic to turn off some of your genes. Hypothetically, a girl with brown eyes has a recessive gene for blue eyes, but since brown is dominant, she ends up expressing the dominant brown-eye gene. What if she were to use magic to turn off the brown eye gene, and to turn on the blue eye gene? Stranger things have happened.

This method of turning off certain genes and turning others on, I have called the best method. This is because you can see what genes are expressed just by looking in the mirror. Many things about human genetics are not known yet. Based on the knowledge that the common person does have, this is probably the most foolproof method. Genetic manipulation is a risky project even in a laboratory. Outside of the laboratory, and inside a person’s body, is much more dangerous. But it is possible. One choosing to perform such magic should exercise great care. There have been people who have tried and failed, people who have tried and experienced no change, and people who have tried and succeeded. It is a difficult task, but one that has infinite possibilities in the magic world.

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