Is there any evidence of whether the mutant gene is dominant, recessive, or something in between? I know there are examples of mutant parents having mutant children (i.e., Magneto and Scarlet Witch), but I'm wondering -- since X-Men is based very heavily around themes of genetics and evolution -- how in-depth the science behind the mutant gene mapping has gone.

Do we know the proportion of children that are mutants for two mutant parents, a mutant mother and a non-mutant father, and vice versa, for example?

It would also be interesting to include any information relating to whether the power of the parent mutant somehow influences the power of the child mutant.

  • 3
    "how in-depth the science behind the mutant gene mapping has gone" – no offense but it's a superhero comic, I doubt you'll find much in-depth science of any sort. They like to keep their options open
    – wyvern
    Jun 18, 2015 at 4:06
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    Magneto and Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver are actually not good examples of mutant parentage anymore.
    – phantom42
    Jun 18, 2015 at 4:16
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    In the movie X2, they mention that the X gene is passed down through the father, so it could be recessive (since you can be a mutant without your father being one). But actual genetics is a lot more complicated than that.
    – Nerrolken
    Jun 18, 2015 at 5:16
  • Same branch of science as Midichlorians. Jun 18, 2015 at 18:21
  • I am actually writing a paper on Superhero Genetics and much of my evidence comes from the X-Men, like those before me have said the Marvel universe is not very good at clarifying genetics, so all of our answers must be inferred.
    – Theo
    Dec 1, 2015 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


Marvel has never been very tidy on explaining mutant genome issues, whether they be dominant or recessive, a series of gene traits, epigentics, or linked to a specific genetic series of alleles. If I were a betting man, I would go ahead and call them very recessive, with a hint of Celestial technology making them even less predictable than normally recessive traits.

  • On Earth-616, Hank McCoy states they were set on the 23rd chromosome, which appears to be the sexual chromosomes, or gonosomes (as there is in humans 22 pair of regular chromosomes, or autosomes, and one pair of sexual chromosomes, X and Y). The X-Gene has to be on the chromosome X so, to be carried by both males and females. REF: Astonishing X-Men Vol 3 #25
  • Since the mutant phenomenon is completely an extra-terrestrial project of the Celestials, we aren't ever given specifics to the nature of mutant genetics. The process by which mutants gain their abilities may not even utilize genetic science as we understand it.

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  • Much of the information released is contradictory (by virtue of none of the Marvel writers being genetic scientists). What genetic information causes this has not been revealed. A common aspect of the X-gene is lack of control over their powers.

  • For some mutants, there is also the potential for secondary mutation: a second level of ability which enhances the primary mutant power further.

  • The X-gene can be detected and affected by anti-mutant designed weapons and a number of mutant-only diseases including: the Legacy Virus and HX-N1. Prominent mutant scientists known to study the phenomenon include Hank McCoy, Moira McTaggart, Charles Xavier, Mister Sinister, Dark Beast, Apocalypse, Reed Richards and Magneto.

  • Since mutants weren't on every corner (though it did seem like this) it is safe to assume the genes for mutant development are recessive and do not manifest with every generation even if both parents have the genes. We have noticed there are strong families of mutants whose genes share characteristics which can be passed to the next generations.

  • Given that beings such as Apocalypse, Mister Sinister and even the enigmatic cosmic wanderer, the Stranger have been studying the Celestials mutant project on Earth for millennia without a clear understanding of the mechanics (though all of them have had success with manipulating the genome of existing mutants) it must be a very difficult to understand or replicate process. It may require technology only the Celestials can use. The Stranger failed to understand the mutant genome back in Uncanny X-Men Issue #11 (May 10, 1965)

Mutant Families

Marvel has occasionally hinted that mutant abilities can be passed down through families.

  • Magneto's Children: Though this is now a retcon, Magneto had three children, all three of them relatively strong mutants: Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, and Lorna Dane/Polaris. With the recent retcon, only Polaris, who shares Magneto's magnetic powers is still considered a relative.

  • The strongest mutant/mutate genes belong to Franklin Richards, whose parents Reed Richards and Susan Richards had their genetic material activated by a radiation accident in space. But for Franklin to be a mutant, his parents must have also had recessive genetic traits for metahuman abilities. Franklin is the most powerful expression of mutant ability to have existed on Marvel Earth-616.

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  • Jean Grey and Scott Summers (in parallel universes) gave birth to some of the most powerful mutants in existence: Nate Summers/X-man, Nathaniel Summers/Cable, Rachel Summers/Phoenix

  • Scott Summers/Cyclops, Alex Summers/Havok and Prince Vulcan: All sons of Christopher Summers, each having aspects of energy projection, energy absorption and energy manipulation.

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    Note that Sabertooth and Mystique gave birth to a plain vanilla human, Creed.
    – user16696
    Jun 18, 2015 at 13:39
  • This was perfect and so detailed! Thanks! Jun 19, 2015 at 0:41
  • It was just as well as Creed didn't have powers. He was a sociopath. Jun 19, 2015 at 2:17

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