I don't know enough about genetics generally, and RNA specifically, to work through this
RPG story hook. Please hope me.
Okay, so you r'member that Next Gen episode where Worf was in the wrong universe
? And how Data figured it out based on a quantum resonance thingy in his RNA being all out of whack?
Well, in the campaign I'm running, it's established that Starfleet's Department of Temporal Investigations has expanded Data's findings and learned how to identify when somebody's from another universe, using only a sufficiently-detailed medical scan. This has obvious security implications when one considers the threat posed by mirror universe incursions—incursions which, as an opportunistic GM, I do not skimp on.
But I don't really understand how/if RNA is passed on from parents to children.
So my question is this. Suppose somebody from the mirror universe and somebody from the "prime" universe...procreated. (Really, I'm surprised they never had this happen in DS9, what with the mirror universe being all sexy times all the time.) What would an RNA quantum resonance scan of their offspring reveal? Would it say "this kid is from our universe," or "this kid is from the mirror universe," or "one of this kid's parents was not from our universe," or would it maybe indicate WHICH parent was from WHICH universe, or what?
(Obviously we are doing some "made-up" science here, but it has to at least be plausible. I'm excellent at Trek engineering technobabble, but not so much at the medical science technobabble.)
Wikipedia's "epigenetics" page
says that "A large amount of RNA and protein is contributed to the zygote by the mother during oogenesis or via nurse cells, resulting in maternal effect phenotypes. A smaller quantity of sperm RNA is transmitted from the father, but there is recent evidence that this epigenetic information can lead to visible changes in several generations of offspring." That makes me suspect that if mom's from the "other" universe, it will show up in the scan of the kid more readily. But is it reasonable to assume that Trek tech (of the late 24th century) would detect dad's contribution, if HE were the one from the "other" universe?
For that matter, can we even count of fertilization succeeding, since the RNA is "in flux," whatever that means? Do I, in other words, have enough pseudoscientific basis to decree that such a pairing is always/often/sometimes going to be infertile?
And, oh jeez, what if the individuals in question are Andorians or some other species that requires multiple sexes to procreate?! Oh beans, you are so numerous I require a plate.