First Appearance: The Inventor's Gene (August 29, 2001)
The Inventor's Gene is a feature of the human genome first discovered by Professor Otto Wisebottom, who himself exhibits its traits. This gene is supposedly not present or dormant in most humans. However, many of history's greatest inventors have either been confirmed to possess the gene or its presence in their DNA is highly suspected. For millennia, the Inventor's Gene has been responsible for guiding man through his greatest innovations.
While definitive proof that an individual possesses the Inventor's Gene can only be accomplished by thorough DNA analysis, it apparently causes a number of physical and behavioral side effects, most of which are benign, that in summation can become a strong indication that the person is affected. These side effects may include:
- The subject's hair approaches one of two extremes: either completely wild and untamable, or the subject will lose all hair and become "smooth as a cue ball";
- The subject will likely develop an odd character quirk, such as a facial tick, nervous twitch, or habitual mannerism;
- The subject will develop a distinctive maniacal laugh that will often be displayed at times of extremely intense concentration;
- Some subjects exhibit an extremely altered libido, either decreased to the point of a complete aversion to sex or increased to... well, the other extreme.
Apparently, the Inventor's Gene is more common in the Wellington family than in most. According to Prof. Wisebottom's analysis, this genetic trait normally surfaces approximately once in every five generations. However, a unique mix of the ordinarily dormant Inventor's Gene from his great uncle on his father's side with the related Meta-Science Gene from his mother has given Nick Wellington the potential to become the "greatest crackpot inventor of all time." Indeed, Nick's creation of both the Velociraptor free-energy device and the MUTEX virtual reality simulator are prime examples of this trend, as well as the combination of the two to form an inter-dimensional transport.