I certainly don’t want to accidentally exclude anyone from enjoying this blog, so for my next post I thought I would focus on the opposite end of the comic book character spectrum from superheroes: the super villain. Maybe you don’t want to be the hero, maybe you’ve always felt like fighting against society for your own personal gains (I’m not here to judge, just to educate). So I thought for my first villain post, I would start small. And by small, I actually mean very, very large.
Fred Dukes, or The Blob, is a mutant whose physiology allowed him to create a mono-directional gravity field extending five feet from his center of balance, rendering himself virtually immovable as long as he was in contact with the ground. His body formerly had superhuman strength and durability; the fat tissues could absorb the impact of bullets, cannonballs, and even missiles.
The first step towards getting powers like these for yourself is to gain the necessary body mass. I can’t guarantee that the ability to produce your own gravity field or to have bullets just bounce off of you will necessarily come after, but you have to take that first step off a ledge in order to get anywhere at all. And there’s a smarter way to go about this than just eating as much as you physically can.
Recently, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that variations in the CD36 gene can alter a human’s sensitivity to the taste of fat in foods. Prior investigation of the CD36 gene in rodent models showed that rats and mice engineered without the CD36 gene no longer had a preference for fatty foods and were not able to digest fat properly. As noted in their article for the Journal of Lipid Research, not only can people who produce more CD36 protein more easily detect fat, it is estimated that 20% of people have a variant of the CD36 gene associated with making less CD36 protein. It was found that participants with genotypes conducive of higher CD36 production were better able to detect the solution containing fat than participants with genotypes less conducive of CD36 production. Thus, through some epigenetic altering, it could be possible to turn on the CD36 gene in your own body and get that small advantage on gaining the necessary weight to be able to induce your own personal gravitational field.