Read a bit about this in a GameInformer interview. I don't remember exactly who they were interviewing, but it was someone near the head of Pokemon, and he said something along the lines that every Pokemon is unique and such, so no, I don't think Ditto is just a failed clone.
Nah. Beyond the fact that its been said by the source to not be true even the pokedex information from the games disproves this theory.
The dex info either states that it can "change its cellular structure" (a physical but not genetic based transformation) or that it can "copy" the DNA of another species, NOT that it has the DNA of all species which would be required for the mew theory. The first allows ditto to copy any physical object, living or not (which implies DNA is not involved in the transformation) and ditto transforms via visualization hence why they often mess up if they don't have an example infront of them (if it was DNA based they should be able to transform whenever they please to the same result, example or no). Additionally they cannot maintain a transformation if made to laugh which implies they are forcing their body to look like something, not that they actually become something.
The second dex comment explains how they can breed anything (they copy the DNA and create a clone). Ditto themselves likely reproduce through budding or some form of mitosis where they simply divide rather than lay eggs.
Totally agree for the DNA part. Dittos copy phenotypes, not genotypes. Otherwise, they'll probably need to inject some kind of appendage into their subject, draw some cell samples, and immediately get those polymerases working REAL HARD.
I like the budding idea, and believe it applies to Weezings, too.
Assuming Dittos only reproduce by mitosis presents a necessary outcome, though, which is that all Dittos are genetically identical. Now bacteria can conjugate or transform (with plasmids, etc), giving them genetic diversity; would the Dittos need that? For that matter, would Dittos require genetic diversity at all? If they didn't, a single virus could easily wipe out the entire Ditto race.
Well even through mitosis there is the possibility of genetic variety from mutations (especially so if they had an impaired/non-existent checking mechanism on their DNA polymerase). I'd imagine there to be the possibility for genetic alteration via more bacteria like means due to their ability to copy genetics (which would require an uptake of DNA). I imagine most of the time its applied more drastically in "breeding/cloning" other species but the fact that they are able to grab and copy DNA may allow them to grab DNA chunks to adjust their own DNA.
However I image ditto to be a short lived but fast reproducing organism (or else they'd be quite able to overrun the world). Assuming so much logic isn't misplaced at pokemon in the first place I'd imagine things like disease to be somewhat moot because the ditto could live its lifecycle before death by virus or other virulent factor. Moreover, due to their extreme control over their cells they may even be able to physically expel unwanted residents (viruses, bacteria etc).
Shucks, I also forgot about the post-transcriptional DNA modifications. There's a chance that their genome could be crazy-long, and they just dynamically choose which genes to express. Though that must mean that they transcribe and translate at a mind-boggling rate. If we take that with a pinch of salt, maybe they don't actually express everything. Maybe what they lack in their genomic library they "cheat" into manifestation by simple protoplasmic shapeshifting. Then apply textures like fur or scales to achieve a biomimicry.
Haha, wow, i'm going to take a breather here to say you're really good.
I like your last point. That would make dittos extremely robust organisms. Short-lived makes sense; i suppose transformations would require huge expenditures of bodily resources. If it needed to make fur or teeth, it would need keratin or bone in its diet, or otherwise synthesize similar substitutes. Maybe the bulk of the Ditto is just dynamic microtubules. No, wait, they need to be multicellular, right?
Mass conservation nazi says that small dittos can't become big blastoises, they become small blastoises. That'll be real cute.
I think we've taken the award for nerdiest convo on this thread.
In general the more you think about ditto the more holes you find in the functionality if you try to apply real life biology/microbiology (but then again, pokemon in general has many holes biologically/logically speaking if you try to stay true to the source). That and if the functionality of ditto's transformation from the games is used in conjunction with the cannon from the shows you find the two are not consistent or compatible.
I personally like to view ditto as being more of a mimic (more in line with the cannon of the shows) than a.... rapid species changer? It makes more sense and is more plausible biologically (and conservation of mass etc) speaking, especially where non-living object transformations are concerned (ie. rocks, books, furniture etc). Effectively I like to view ditto as being very flexible in form/color/texture and that most of it is faked. Perhaps using a lot of microtubules to shape it's cellular structure (cells could have transmitters that cause a cascade effect to communicate to neighbor cells how to adjust their form). I sort of view ditto as a cross between silly putty, an ameba, and a mimic octopus. Like if it wants to "become" a blastioise it only has so much matter to work with and stretches its form as far as it can (say being hollow inside). In the shows ditto was limited in its ability to mimic size- a ditto would make a mini onix for example. Then it would alter the appearence/colors of its outer cells to look like that of its target (like a mimic octopus changing to mimic the surface its on). This way only minimal cellular alterations are required (conformation alteration and pigment creation/release) and doesn't require the creation of tons of materials (such as proteins for keratin or calcium to build bones and a ton of carbon etc) all of a sudden from non-existent resource pools. This is compatible with its ability to look like inanimate objects and how it can transform into other pokemon without them being around while also explaining why ditto might not look right/be the right size. Its relatively simple and borderline plausible (being ameba like no internal organs are of issue for this). It unfortunately doesn't really explain how it uses moves of other pokemon, but then again, we're dealing with a world with a pokemon like Smeargle which can use any move somehow by... sketching... it.
The games however require a more genetic based transformation because the move transform copies the non-HP stats of its opponent. This is in and of itself problematic from a biological point of view because it borders on Lamarck genetic/evolution theories. For this to work the ditto would have to grab the DNA of its current opponent (so no DNA is require beforehand other than its normal "ditto" DNA and the capacity to switch expression to a different genomic set- ie. some sort of on and off mechanism like super-condensing its normal DNA temporarily) and then become a perfect clone. This is weird because it takes into account both "default" characteristics (ie. pikachu is a pikachu) and its current state (ie. its a pikachu body builder) and as we all know a body builder doesn't just magically give birth to a ripped baby (its genes don't code for x amount of muscle in y distribution at z point in time). Trying to grab the phenotype would be even more far-fetched (since that is highly complicated and varies from cell to cell). Then the ditto would have to physically become its target (as you mentioned by creation of the same structures/materials) so that it would have the exact same stats. Then we come back to the impossibility of instantly manufacturing all those materials/structures from a very small resource pool (ditto itself) which starts to break the laws of physics (conservation of mass).
Sorry for any weird grammar and stuff, its 4:00 am why am i even awake -passes out-
Awesome input regardless! Are you a biology major? You speak like you've written essays on microbiology. I used to study bio, but there's little to no room in chemical engineering for it.. still miss it.
I always thought pkmn 'evolution' was pretty Lamarckian, too, especially when they evolve when under psychological impetus. At least we know that species, not individuals, evolve, but lots of other pple probably don't, and end up getting wrong ideas about evolution.
I like your hollow blastoise (*i almost typed hollow bastion*) idea. Yes, that should be the way. Maybe ditto's part- genotype changer, part- putty shifter. Like maybe it's genomic stock contains rough body templates (mammal shapes, fish shapes, bird shapes) and the rest of the peripherals are Mudbox'ed on. You've got a good point with the morphing-into-inanimate-objects part; let's say a wild ditto morphs into a book. I bet if you run a blade through that book, it's pages will bleed cytoplasm. Maybe the book can't even open; the ditto might not have been aware that books could open.
I suddenly thought of starcraft II's Changeling, but I don't suppose you're into that..!
Yea, attacks are an oddity too. Damn that smeargle, i've always wondered, plus that guy can learn Spore; like where, from his mushroom beret? I've let attacks slide (pokedex says that blastoises can pump out enough water to fill an olympic pool. Shoot me) cus i always thought of it as portaling, like tesseracting. So the blastoise gets its water from elsewhere. (Like the Dream World. Okay, i'm on a slippery slope here, i can feel it.)
Somehow, i can deal with pokemon attacks being magick, but i can't deal with pokemon physiology being magick; i have to rationalize it in a scientific way. I don't know why. LOL craziness
I always just assumed that, since they can transform, Ditto just literally multiply into more Ditto, and then expand their own mass... They don't have a breeding process with each other per se, which is why they won't breed in the Day Care
dittos are mews in disguise! or maybe its the other way around... both can use transform and mew being a legendary wouldnt need to see a pokemon to become one. or maybe mew is a female and since its a clone whenever it lays an egg they become dittos.
Ditto was never an experiment to begin with, nor was he ever a failed copycat, clone, replica whatever you would like to call him out for of Mew. The reason is simple because Ditto IS an offspring from Mew. I never heard people telling or whining about Phione being a clone, a failure being of the legendary, Manaphy. They're in the same boat as Ditto and Mew; Offsprings. Even if Ditto was a failed clone of Mew, then Mewto would be far greater failure being of Mew's clone. Ditto's were born with a inch of Mew's DNA somehow; that's all I know; regulary born just like Pokémon from eggs or naturally. Mewto is a pure clone of Mew. There is only one clone of Mew and that is him, Ditto barely have any family connection to Mew. See it like a halve-brother you never met before. That kind of offspring siutation.
Mew supposedly has the DNA of every Pokemon... And the pokedex outright says that Phione are a species, and a Manaphy is occasionally born from them... So Manaphy is the odd one out in that case. Very sorry if I sound rude or anything...
Actually, Mew doesn't. He simple can transform into anything he likes; that's just how her ability is. And I wasn't talking about Mew but about Ditto having Mew's DNA. That's how he got in the existense.
i dont think it was intended but they're just so similar ! same color (normal AND shiny) same weight in the first game you find it in the burned mansion where they tried to clone mew... its a very awesome and plausible theory and i like to belive in it^^ but maybe ditto IS suposed to be failed clone and they just dont wanna tell and for those who ask why there aare so many dittos, maybe they can duplicate like germs ! but think there are so many because it would be stupid to put a pokemon only in one single game :I especialy when its the most important pokemon for breeding
Nah, I never wanted to believe that. Ditto is too awesome to be a failed experiment.
And they asked this very question of Masuda in an interview shown in the latest Game Informer, and he pretty much confirmed that Ditto is not a clone of Mew. He even said he has never heard this rumor before. The interview is on the very last page of the magazine.