Chief Science Correspondent
After working in close correspondence with Lumiose City Professor Augustine Sycamore, the Cennamology Pokémon Special Research Team has generated a tentative phylogenetic map detailing the ancestral origin of Diancie.
Researchers announced the official discovery of the Rock/Fairy legendary Pokémon earlier this year. It was believed that the species had formed as the result of a "strange mutation" in Carbink, also a Rock/Fairy type Pokémon. However, the mechanism behind this speciation was not fully understood at the time.
The Carbink species has adapted to living underground and its rock-like body thrives under high atmospheric pressure. The Carbink is a generally sedate species, undergoing a long period of energy-conserving hibernation after birth.
We now believe that Diancie formed approximated 12 million years ago as the result of sympatric speciation, in which a subpopulation of Carbink underwent a series of mutations causing phenotypic differences. After sequencing the genomes of the two species, we have found consistent significant differences in three marker genes: clr-3, lmb-1 and cry-14.
The clr-3 gene, which is responsible for the eye color in Diancie, appears to have undergone a partial deletion mutation. Clr-3 downregulates the level of melanin in Carbink, resulting in light blue eyes. However, with the deletion of this gene, melanin is produced at a higher level, resulting in eyes that are dark red in color.
Lmb-3, the ancestral limb-forming gene in Pokémon, was an inactive fossil sequence in Carbink, resulting in its limbless phenotype. However, as the result of a transposition, lmb-3 has moved within the Diancie genome, positioning it in proximity to a promoter sequence. As a result, the gene has become reactivated, causing members of the Diancie species.
We also reported an addition mutation in the repeat region of cry-14, a gene responsible for the small crystals present on Carbink individuals. The crystal-forming protein is produced at higher levels in Diancie, accounting for their more pronounced appearance. It is believed that this mutation also accounts for Diancie's ability to form diamonds from the carbon dioxide in the air. This explosive reaction, which has been replicated under laboratory conditions, involves the immediate freezing of the greenhouse gas, which is converted into an explosive substance and then compressed into the extremely hard diamond substance.
Although the diamond compression mechanism is not yet fully understood, we believe the expanded cry-14 interacts with frz-100, a gene that temporarily causes the outer layer of Diancie to become cold when activated by the intake of carbon dioxide through small cracks in the bottom of Diancie's body.
We currently believe that these mutations have persisted in response to the arrival of a competing species to the area, prompting the development of aggressive characteristics that allow Diancie to compete more effectively for resources. It is not believed that Carbink and Diancie compete aggressively, as they appear to have diverged in order to utilize different niche resources.
These results are significant because a divergence between related Pokémon species had never before been documented. Pokémon are known to have diverged from Mew, the ancestor of all modern Pokémon species. We now believe that these divergences result from genetic mutations, which give the Pokémon differential qualities that allow them to survive within different ranges of habitats. These mutations also grant the Pokémon various types of battle abilities that allow different species to compete with one another for resources.
In light of this new information, it appears we may need to reconsider the way we characterize a certain critical process within the life cycle of many Pokémon species. Selected species have been shown to undergo so-called "evolutions," in which an individual changes phenotype due to its behavior and aggressive or defensive developments in battle.
We now believe that these "evolutions" are actually the result of methylations within the genome that impact an individual's gene expression, a phenomenon commonly known as epigenetics. However, unlike similar epigenetic events in humans, it appears that these methylation changes are not conserved within generations, as the offspring of "evolved" Pokémon do not inherit the higher evolution levels.
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