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Definition & Gamma Mutation
Gamma mutates are usually the result of exposure of gamma radiation to individuals who possess the "gamma gene" ("apparently the factor that caused superhuman mutation with gamma exposure") which allows them to convert gamma radiation into a mutagenic change. In some cases, the change is permanent. In others, the change can occur when desired or under stimuli. The mutation is usually indicated by green coloration.
Variations in the mutations
The type and extent of mutation is allegedly determined by three factors: the frequency and amount of the gamma rays, the subject's latent mutant potential, and the subject's psychological make-up.
These factors contributed to the extremely non-human appearance of the Abomination, the Neanderthal-like appearance of the Hulk, and the relatively normal appearance of Doc Samson, whose only aberration is his hair color. Why gamma radiation tends to produce mutate forms of a greenish hue is not yet known.
Gamma Radiation factor
As is apparent by comparing the mutated forms of such gamma radiation subjects as the Hulk, the Abomination, She-Hulk, Doc Samson, and the Leader, different frequencies of gamma radiation affect different human beings in different ways. The effect that intensive gamma radiation has on most people is cellular deterioration and eventual death, but there are others whose genetic constitution enables them to mutate so as to gain superhuman powers.
The subject's potential for mutation is dictated by certain mysterious "interstitial" segments of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the molecules which carry a living organism's genetic code. Under the action of mutagenic influences, such as gamma rays, the segments can trigger many body wide restructuring events.
As for the subject's psychological make-up, it has been theorized that the gamma radiation somehow acts to mold the subject's mutated form according to repressed desires within his subconscious. Hence, Doc Samson's mutated form is the physical embodiment of his own long-buried desire to become a super heroic figure.
List of known Gamma Mutates
- See the Gamma Ray Mutates.