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Pokémon are an immense source of knowledge, power, and inspiration. For the most part, their prowess in battle has been given the most attention, and much research has been put into identifying moves, abilities, and other traits that could prove to be advantageous during combat. What's less known, however, are the physiological aspects of most known species, and while several Pokédex entries have been written for each and every one, there's plenty left to reveal. The world of Pokémon is in dire need of hard facts, and we, the Pokémon biologists, are here to provide them.
This session, we'll be examining a group of Pokémon most people aren't too familiar with, which thus require a more thorough examination: man-made Pokémon. Artificial creations given life through technology, but which are also capable of battling against natural species on even grounds. I go by the name of Bummer, and my fellow associates participating in this discussion are V0x, bugmaniacbob, and Layell; we'll each share our thoughts and theories on the five species chosen for this topic. For reference, I am represented by Heracross, V0x is depicted by Shaymin, bugmaniacbob is characterized by Anorith, while Layell is indicated by Sneasel.
Porygon was, and still is, a huge milestone for science and engineering alike. Mankind has known for a long time how to convert Pokémon into portable condensed energy, but this cyberduck was the first successful attempt to reverse the process and make Pokémon out of energy instead. Granted, there was much left to be desired about its appearance and behavior, but patches and updates that have been made have significantly decreased the gap between Porygon and wild Pokémon in terms of agility and capacity.
Since it's been molded within a virtual furnace, it's also strictly protected by copyright, and any hope of actually owning one can only be realized through large research funds or rigorous casino activity. The creators of Porygon are keen to repeat how it's entirely made out of program code, which is sadly closer to a commercial slogan rather than a dependable fact. What IS true is that Porygon's physiological state can be attributed to its software, and that it's capable of redistributing its energy between the physical and virtual realm. Its code never defined which type Porygon would be, even though many assumed it would become Electric by default. As things have turned out, battle observations concluded it to be of the Normal type. This in turn has sparked plenty of discussion on whether or not Normal is an individual type, or merely the absence of any other type, but that's another subject for another day.
Ah yes, Porygon, a demonstration of the very best of late nineties digital technology. While I have immense respect for anyone who can code an organism such as this in binary as opposed to the classic triplet code of DNA, I must admit that Porygon's introduction into the biosphere has left a fair amount to be desired. Despite the attempt to merge the best attributes of every Pokémon into one, Porygon lacked any sort of ecological niche and the species was wiped out within months. It was determined that the original Porygon lacked the variability and adaptability to succeed, and so a whole host of unique moves and abilities were programmed into later models. Sadly, they still fall short of the huge expectations placed upon them when released. Currently, the most up-to-date version of the species is being monitored within the secluded ecosystem of White Forest in Unova.
It is interesting to note that one of the laboratories that worked on the Porygon2 upgrades (the P2 laboratory in southern Unova) would later use the data and code from the Porygon study in the design of Genesect, a digital-organic hybrid which built a computer-based neural network into the foundation of the exoskeleton of an extinct Cambrian arthropod. Genesect was ultimately successful as the spiritual successor to the Porygon project, despite the immense public outcry caused by the publication of the study. Most unfortunately, the species produced by this experiment was infertile, and as such the project has hit a new roadblock.
We can easily insert computer chips into living things, giving us remote control of them. Upon investigation, Porygon is the opposite. The scientists appear to have successfully integrated living biomass into a circuit network, appropriately shaped like a duck. Scientists appear to have modified Porygon's DNA structure, allowing snippets of code to "latch" onto the double helix. But without the complex regulatory mechanisms of transcription, there was little prototype Porygon could actually do besides its programmed "movement". In the wild, Porygon has some control over these snippets; once captured, voice commands are the primary initiation factors. As Porygon levels up, more and more of the DNA can be decompressed, allowing for a wider variety of moves.
Porygon seems to be in an odd Egg group: mineral. After all, most of the Pokémon in it are either Ground-, Rock-, or Steel-type. However, scientists were in need of material that could amplify some psychic capabilities, as well as phase out of reality when Porygon enters cyberspace. They based it off some fragments of Beldum, sent by Professor Birch. Porygon's movepool reflects the usage of a weak Psychic-type Pokémon: Porygon can only learn Psybeam. A TM is required for Psychic. That said, for some reason, Porygon is still Normal-type, but I suppose the mysteries of biological engineering haven't all been solved as of yet.
The virtual Pokémon Porygon, once the most state-of-the-art piece of publicly available technology. Porygon was always meant to be a research tool above all and only later were there any considerations for its use in the public as a Pokémon like any other. However, during a broadcast of a Porygon advertisement, over 700 Kanto schoolchildren were sent to the Pokémon Center for seizures. This devastated any profit motives the Porygon research team had of selling their research to the public. No Poké Mart would stock it. The first place to sell them was the Celadon City Game Corner.
It was originally intended that the Porygon species would be able to evolve naturally, based on the environment that they were raised in. Scientists believed their program was adaptable enough to process the information of its local environment and evolve as necessary. However, like using any old computer, Porygon lacked hard-drive space to accomplish this goal. Soon, even basic research in cyberspace was difficult for Porygon since it could be defeated by a rogue popup ad. This spurred the further development of the cyberduck into its later evolutions Porygon2 and Porygon-Z.
Mewtwo, thought by many to be the most successful artificial Pokémon ever created. While not considered to be a true artificial Pokémon by some owing to its origins in an existing species, Mewtwo is still the earliest known species that owes its existence solely to human endeavor, as well as easily the most successful overall. It surpassed its genetic base in almost every way, becoming far faster and stronger than any Pokémon known to the scientists working on it, even so far as to develop a sentient intelligence and the ability to communicate with humans. Research on the latest batch (later put to sleep) has shown the capability of learning advanced-level techniques such as Aura Sphere and Recover, mimicking the near limitless abilities of its base, though not to so significant an extent, as well as most recently, showing the capability to exceed all known Psychic abilities with a newly discovered technique, which is actually capable of causing corporeal damage, rather than just mental.
Sadly, the original Mewtwo creation was lost through the carelessness of those guarding it, and thus research was ended, although there are those who make the somewhat laughable claims that the Mewtwo was later involved in terrorism, mass kidnapping, and illegal cloning experiments, as well as a brief stint in the Viridian City Gym. Far more likely, say the most notable remaining scientists in the field, the Mewtwo succumbed to the inevitable onset of cancer or some other nasty debilitating condition through its immensely complicated genome.
Mew is really an extraordinary Pokémon. Its DNA regulation is so refined that its cells can keep themselves alive under normally lethal conditions. Well, what does that have to do with Mewtwo? As we know, Mewtwo is supposed to be a clone of Mew. Clone meaning genetically identical, which generally means the same appearance. However, from what we can gather from the remains of the research, cloning Pokémon has a high failure rate due to their complexity.
In particular, isolating DNA from Pokémon for the cloning process causes all the chromosomes to revert to their pure form: without any modifications to the sugar-phosphate backbone. Specifically, cloned DNA lacks methylation that represses transcription of the second chromosome within each pair. In normal cells this usually means an excess of protein and RNAs, which can lead to cell death or cancerous growth. However, Mew's cells prevented this excess from causing death, which instead resulted in extra bulk. The cause behind the other physiological differences are unknown, although our current knowledge concerning cloning complications is far from substantial.
Mewtwo holds the distinction of being a genetically modified clone that is larger, heavier and a completely different body color than that of its predecessor. While the creation of Mewtwo has become the point of great controversy, it has also resulted in genetically modified Miltank that produce more burgers than ever before.
One of the greater controversies to befall Mewtwo is its placement as Pokémon #150 in the National Pokédex, right before the Pokémon it was cloned from. This has become the launching point for many Pokémon biologists to argue that the National Pokédex is too Kanto-centric and should be restructured to properly order the genus of Pokémon species, although the placement of Mewtwo seems to be less important than baby Pokémon being placed hundreds of dex spots after their post-evolutions.
Recent Mewtwo research is rarely successful but has proven very insightful. One move that appears exclusive to the Genetic Pokémon is known as Psystrike. The move capitalizes on Mewtwo's superior psychic powers from being genetically mutated in a giant test tube. Psystrike ignores the standard convention of how special based moves deal damage to an opponent, and delivers damage based on their physical defense. Evidence of this power was gained in archived footage of multiple slain Chansey at the Cerulean City Pokémon Center as captured on security footage. Studies of how physical and special defenses function slowed down upon Mewtwo's escape, but have regained their activity with the discovery of Psyshock, a move which functions in the same manner but with less power.
Mew is one of those species whose rarity is on the borderline of fiction, but its suitability as a cloning object was undeniable, as its genome contains an unparalleled potential with hardly any genetic defects to speak of. The resulting clone was far from identical to its origin, as early analyses of Mewtwo revealed a much smaller arsenal of available battle moves compared to its ancestor, although this was well compensated with increased properties and mental capabilities. Mew was balanced in its entirety, while Mewtwo on the other hand became much more specialized in both function and design.
At this time, there should be no researcher alive who isn't unaware of the scientific blunder foreshadowing the sudden escape of this genetic behemoth. Little time to study its behavior patterns along with a lack of discernment made for an ample period for the test subject to not only develop psychological abnormalities, but a strong distaste against its creators as well. This, sadly, inevitably lead to its explosive outburst mere weeks after becoming self-aware. With that said, it was never expected to be fully subordinated to any trainer, as its broad psyche and independent nature never paid much respect to human commands.
After that failure, the experiment's true purpose have been removed from the official records, although unofficial statements emphasize that the project's true objective was to apply and improve bioengineering methods where the creatured specimen would outclass the original template. Technically, I suppose they succeeded.
Castform's ability can be attributed to four main proteins: its Core Form Protein (CFP), and three Weather Form Proteins (WFP). A membrane-embedded protein complex detect any change in weather around Castform, and also gives it its grey color. In rain, the receptors can distinguish many droplets falling over Castform's entire body, preventing water submersion from activating the form change. This synthesizes WFP-I, which eventually takes and unnoticeably dispels water. If rain continues, the protein expands with the help of other structures to form Rain Castform. This mechanism prevents light splashes from causing changes. As rain stops falling, WFP-I's water loss causes Castform to return normal.
WFP-II detects hail and is most similar to WFP-I. CFP coordinates the percussion of hail with small amounts of water uptake and activates WFP-II synthesis, which holds ice. When the external stimulus stops, so does transcription of WFP-II. Finally, CFP can detect strong sunlight through a structure that is cleaved when exposed to a high intensity of UV light. This pathway causes WFP-III synthesis, which uses all but orange-red light to fuel reactions that give Castform its sunny form. As long as sunlight persists, WFP-III is created faster than it is broken down; otherwise, Castform changes back.
The initial rumor of Castform's identity was that the National Hoenn Weather Institute had been working on an artificial Pokémon, which would be able to match the weather inducing capabilities to those of legends. The actual announcement was therefore met with a vast amount of disappointment, even though the anticipation was ill-founded to begin with. Castform was, and still is, a meteorological marvel whose purpose is to adapt instantly to changes in its environment. This would, in turn, hopefully improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, but since Castform would only change its structure the very moment the weather did, its ability to detect and predict the weather ultimately ended up to be lackluster at best.
It's nonetheless a Pokémon, and its ability to not only induce but to also thrive in severe weather conditions has earned it a specialty to hold on to. Plenty of laymen have repeatedly remarked that it lacks a customization for sandstorm, the fourth major 'weather' condition, but to do so would be to forget how Castform is constructed. Despite being classified as a Normal-type, an immense portion of its body is composed of water, which makes it very sensitive to the humidity, air pressure and radiation around it. Rain, hail, and clear skies all affect those variables, triggering a shift within its internal balance large enough to warrant a molecular reorganization. In contrast, a sandstorm is merely harsh winds whipping up debris and particles, and only forces Castform to remain in its default state to escape further harm.
The greatest error in judgment to befall Castform is that it lacks a form for the presence of sandstorms. The ability due to its genetic structure would make it difficult, however recent events attempted to determine if such a form could be created. Geographically the sand form was thought to be useless as sandstorms are limited to the desert Route 111 of Hoenn. This changed dramatically during what is now called "The Great Sandstorm Invasion" where numerous Larvitar were imported from Mt. Silver to Hoenn. Aspiring trainers bought them en masse but could not control their final form. This resulted in many Tyranitar being set free, making Hoenn's weather system a bipolar nightmare. Sales of Go-Goggles spiked for weeks. After months of testing and modifications, all the Weather Institute was able to do was make Weather Ball a Rock move during sandstorms. This had more to do with the fact that a large ball of air accumulating sand rather than the move changing type. The modification was considered a massive money-consuming failure. To this day many Castform are given away to trainers that visit the Weather Institute in an attempt to boost tourism. There are no plans to update with a further forme; initial design concepts have suggested that such a forme would resemble a sandcastle made by a five year old child.
Begun around the same time as the Porygon project, the Castform project was a bizarre fusion of meteorology and genetic engineering designed to aid the ailing Weather Institute of Hoenn in their attempt to predict the weather. While this may seem a lot of wasted time and effort to throw at a somewhat minuscule problem, it should be remembered that Hoenn is, by virtue of its regional fauna, one of the regions most greatly beset by constantly changing and extreme weather conditions–ironically, it has been noted that any attempt to predict the weather would be a fool's errand in any case—and also that Hoenn, at that point, did not have the vast economic problems of today, and had plenty of cash to throw around.
Anyway, Castform is a relatively uninteresting Pokémon—it was designed for a specific, human purpose, rather than as a biological experiment. As such, little effort was expended on its ability to survive in the wild—rather, the bulk of the effort was concentrated on its remarkable ability to change its fundamental genetic structure with the weather, a trait that no naturally occurring Pokémon possesses. While undoubtedly a great scientific experiment, there are concerns that Castform's existence is unethical, as it is essentially useless—however, scientists behind the work point to a very recent successful colony of Castform on Unova Route 6, an area notorious for its volatile weather conditions, where Castform's abilities give it an niche alike native species such as Deerling.
Many ancient Pokémon, or at least those that appear to have a similar make-up to man-made or artificial structures, have often received great press as examples of the lost abilities of ancient races, as per the ability to create Pokémon. Of course, many of these are fairly fanciful. Shuppet, Banette, Baltoy, and Claydol are all noted for their resemblance to old toys, and Bronzor and Bronzong to more mature possessions. Even Voltorb is suggested to have been man-made based only on its resemblance to a Poké Ball, despite the clear evidence for natural selection enabling this resemblance through the example of Foongus. But none of these comes close to the excitement stirred up by a bizarre little walking automaton named Golett.
Golett is a strange creature that appears to bear a similarity to the Legendary Golems, with some religious leaders suggesting that the Great Regigigas may, after fashioning them from the earth, have taught its disciples the same art, or else fashioned these creatures itself—which recently gained momentum through the discovery of an ancient Regigigas tomb deep within Twist Mountain. However, there is little evidence to suggest any sort of deliberate creation on the part of the ancients. A more likely explanation has been put forward that suggests that the theoretical common ancestor of the "possession Ghost" genus, Mancipium, which includes Shuppet, Baltoy, and others of an ethereal disposition, adapted to possessing ancient, basic, clockwork automatons, which through merging have lost their inner components, but are now fully functional species.
Golett's creation is shrouded in mystery, as evidence of the ancient civilization is very sparse, if there even was one. However, there are a few hypotheses as to what powers its system. Compared to the majority of other Ghost-types, Golett lacks Will-O-Wisp, so it is possible that the Ghost-type's fire creating ability was somehow converted to its sole power source. Studies in the still emerging field of move engineering have revealed that Will-O-Wisp can manifest near Golett, but at an intensity much lower than the actual move. However, this does not account for a ghost that was able to fuse with automations, or how a Ground typing was infused.
Another possibility is that Golett's Ghost typing is actually different than the rest. Golett doesn't have the typical Ghost-like appearance, but it can still phase through objects and attacks. It is possible that the ancient civilization discovered some kind of rare material with organic elements that allow for animation; a spectroscopy of a piece of Golett's body revealed a dynamic bond structure that could account for the ability to move through things. This explains why we haven't found or are able to make our own Golett: the organic matter would have decomposed or simply fallen apart without a source of power.
Initial research into the origins of Dragonspiral Tower was focused on architecture and the culture that created this pillar to the dragons. This soon changed when Golett acted as a very invasive security force, proving that the old ways remain just as solid, with the result of several scientists being at severe risk of receiving multiple bruises. Seeing the opportunity, much of their attention was afterwards directed towards their would-be attackers, hoping to learn more about the ruined civilization through that approach.
The insignia on its chest appears to be a method of ancient programming which dictates the behavior of the individual Golett. From studying the behavior of these clay security guards, anthropologists have also determined much about the culture that Golett came from. With the abilities of Iron First and Klutz, this ancient civilization was one that valued the strength of the individual without the use of held weapons in battle. This does help explain Golett's primary strategy of "punching everything to death". Current theories suggest that this ancient culture, while advanced, were so repelled by the use of items that they ended up with a crushing disadvantage against invading forces, whose blunt weaponry showed little weakness against barehanded combat.
The population of Golett in Unova has remained at a constant level throughout the ages, where Dragonspiral Tower is their preferred habitat and nesting grounds. With the increase of activity in that area during the last years, a sheer majority of them have evolved into Golurk, perhaps as a defense mechanism since the group as a whole appear to protect the location from serious harm. A few individuals have even traveled to the caves preceding the Victory Road, where the ancient structures and buildings in the vicinity could share a close connection to the tower outside of Icirrus City.
While the theory of Golett being a possessed piece of antique machinery is gaining more favor within the scientific society, one has yet to discover or isolate such a being which, upon merging with inanimate objects, can create new lifeforms. The energy which powers Golett and its robotic final stage has yet to be identified through conventional means, except that it so far reveals a close likeliness to that of Ghost types. Much like our old technology such as cassette tapes and vinyl records, Golett has shown a surprising endurance over the vast period it has been deemed to exist, where those who faint from exhaustion are shortly rebooted from their short hibernation. It's a pity that the desolate ruins of their lost civilization provide few clues about the origin of these creatures. All we can do is to establish that they're still working.
While created by chance, Trubbish has proven remarkably adaptable within civilized life. In a report last year, a group of Trubbish were used in a sleep study since their stench can make a person sleep for weeks, a longer time than what was even thought possible from other species such as Breloom or Darkrai. Nimbasa City civil servants have used them to catch residents who litter the streets, and the Trubbish appear to enjoy being integrated into the society. While their presence has made Route 5 and 16 a much cleaner place, they appear to have a negative impact on the local Minccino. Locals have reported tarnished coats and large Trubbish shaped bite marks on some Minccino. Nimbassa City officials are currently putting laws into place which would make it illegal to release Trubbish back into the wild and are attempting to control local populations.
It is often wittily remarked in scientific circles that Porygon, Castform, and Trubbish are the personified forms of physics, biology, and chemistry in the Pokémon world, respectively. While I would point out that Mewtwo is a far more fitting avatar of biology (and Magikarp far more fitting of physics), Trubbish is an excellent poster boy for chemistry; after all, it is the only Pokémon in this article created entirely by accident.
Official records note that the indigenous Trubbish population of Unova arose from a single industrial spillage in a poorly kept refuse area in Nimbasa City, and the resultant creatures extended their range to the west and east. Recent censuses indicate that they are already spreading south into the colonized desert area, demonstrating their remarkable tolerance for harsh conditions, although Castelia is likely more troubled by the invasive Grimer population at present. Their evolved forms, Garbodor, have even proved hardy enough to migrate north through Entree Forest, despite the threat of native Gothorita and Duosion populations.
How exactly they came to be, as it were, is still a mystery, though there are numerous hypotheses to explain the phenomenon. One of these is that the noxious gases produced by the decaying rubbish formed amino acids on contact with the industrial waste, in some manner apparently alike those of Stanley Miller's lightning experiments, and that the resultant primitive life-forms developed over time into fully-fledged, functional organisms. While this seems far-fetched, it could explain the similarities of this species to known colonial organisms.
The metabolism of most creatures follows a standard norm: they eat nutrients and excrete waste. Trubbish and Garbodor, however, eat waste and excrete basic life components. Apart from the occasional belch, the poisonous substances they come in contact with are safely stored within their body structure, and they only make use of them when threatened or in battle. The foul stench that some species envelop themselves with are in fact the smell of sulfur, and many have noted that forests gain tremendously in vigor if a small population of these garbage Pokémon inhabit the area. As they're on a constant search for more waste to add to their inventory, litter and trash are consumed in a quick manner, thus improving the sanitary conditions even further. So despite being a mobile pile of filth, one would make a grave mistake of associating Trubbish with the likes of Muk and Weezing, as it can be an invaluable asset to cleaning the nature of unwanted materials and pathogens.
Poison-types in general carry only a few toxins which they can handily use for both defensive and offensive measures. Trubbish and Garbodor on the other hand, who constantly come in contact with new hazards through their diet, have been confirmed to carry a staggering amount of toxins. Since their bodies are adept at neutralizing any given substance they should absorb, a few individuals alone have been enough to provide medical institutes with hundreds of antidotes to combat various diseases and intoxicated patients.
Trubbish is a living trash bag. Which is great since plastic bags are so harmless in the first place. However, we see that this animation is actually more beneficial to the environment than if a random bag were blowing around. Furthermore, Trubbish can easily incorporate random non-biodegradable materials such as the previously mentioned bags and metals like Mercury. The search for these materials to evolve is the majority of what Trubbish does, so it mostly only learns Normal- and Poison-type attacks. That said, it appears that some materials are required for it to evolve successfully. These have not been directly observed, but evidence from Trubbish's Egg movepool suggest that some kind of mineral is required before moves such as Rock Blast can be performed.
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