How Do the Genetics of the Force Work in Star Wars?

Brian Linder
Movies Star Wars
Movies Star Wars

It’s Star Wars Day, and that’s got everyone celebrating the awesome lore and amazing detail of the Star Wars universe. So, let’s talk about one question that’s never really been explained: How exactly does the ability to use the Force get passed on in the Star Wars universe?

Helix, a personal genomics company, has taken a closer look at that question. And they’ve used science to come up with some possible answers…

We have theorized that based on the lineage of the Skywalker-Solo clan, there’s abundant evidence that Force-sensitivity is genetic. This is due to the similarity in traits between Skywalker family members raised in isolation from one another, and in totally separate environments (with the exception of Ben Solo who was raised with his mother and trained by his uncle). Luke and Leia grew up on entirely different planets. Neither knew their father (until later in life), and Leia was raised as galactic rebel royalty, whereas Luke was a simple moisture farmer bullseyeing womp rats in his T-16.

The experts at Helix have come up with a number of other fun science-y theories about how the Force is inherited in the Star Wars universe:

Theory 1: The Force is inherited through a de novo autosomal dominant mutation.

It’s okay if you don’t understand the genetics terminology. What this actually means is that the Force is a trait which parents pass on to their kids who pass them onto their kids. You see the trait in every single generation, just like the Skywalker family.

Theory 2: The Force is inherited through trinucleotide repeat expansion.

kylo adam driver last jedi star wars

Now, without getting too technical, this is a special type of genetic mutation which can have repeating effects. In some cases, repeat mutations can increase with each generation, and when the number of repeats exceeds a certain number, resulting traits can appear. So, for example, Shmi Skywalker may have had a repeat number just below the threshold, but it expanded in Anakin to the point where it appeared as if he had suddenly inherited the Force.

Of course, Star Wars is a fantasy and science doesn’t necessarily apply, especially to things as mystical as the Force. But it’s fun to think about.

Want to know more? Read the full story on Helix.

Brian Linder
Brian is a Sr. Content Producer at FANDOM. He's been on the fan-media scene since dial-up. Arriving at FANDOM via IGN, Brian was a founding editor at early Star Wars fansite and co-created the movie site, FilmForce, acquired by IGN in 2006. He's a fan of space operas and superheroes.
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