In Frank Herbert's Dune universe, do mentats ever have children? As being a mentat is something that can be taught then, I assume, there is no genetic disposition to being a mentat so no great need for them to breed to continue producing the next generation. I haven't read God Emperor of Dune yet so sorry if my assumptions are wrong and these points get covered in the following books.

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    "I assume, there is no genetic disposition to being a mentat" It's very clearly stated in Dune (the 1st book) that Paul was tested at a young age to see if he might be suitable for mentat training which can only mean that not everyone is, it's also very clearly implied that suitable individuals are relatively rare, so your assumption seems misguided, or rather your grounds for it do, I'd personally assume there was some genetic disposition involved but the aptitude for mentat training doesn't appear to be rare enough to require any special breeding programs to maintain their numbers.
    – Pelinore
    Mar 7, 2019 at 2:39
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    @pelinore. I disagree. Being tested doesn't say it was a biological test, could easily be an IQ test of sorts and the reason for no breeding programme is because it is not a genetic trait. Is there anything that says that members of Great Houses are tested as standard? Mar 7, 2019 at 9:23
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    ^ If you disagree your not considering how things work, IQ & aptitude (particularly for something like this) will have a genetic basis, it's why dogs can't simply be trained to be as intelligent as humans :)
    – Pelinore
    Mar 7, 2019 at 18:57
  • @pelinore are you serious?? How things work?? Mar 7, 2019 at 19:27
  • "Is there anything that says that members of Great Houses are tested as standard?" no, it's clearly implied in the book that this was unusual, I fail to see the relevance to my comment though, because there isn't any :)
    – Pelinore
    Mar 7, 2019 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


In Heretics of Dune, Miles Teg (who is also heavily implied to be an Atreides descendant) is written as having been married and had grown children at the time of the story. He is the child of a Bene Gesserit, having been sent for Mentat training at an early age, and later was their Supreme Bashar (General of their armed forces). So I would say that Herbert demonstrated in his writing that nothing about Mentat training precluded marriage or children.

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    On a similar note: In the original Dune, Duke Leto was all in favor of his son Paul becoming a Mentat. Paul was also his heir, but there was no suggestion that this would mean the end of the Atreides lineage.
    – Lorendiac
    Mar 7, 2019 at 0:45

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