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I was talking to one of my friends the other day who doesn't play about how Orks reproduce through spores and he brought up the interesting point that since Orks use asexual reproduction, there is little to no genetic variation or mutation and thus they would be very susceptible to diseases and biological warfare. My question is, if this is true, why hasn't the Imperium designed anti-Ork virus weaponry to combat them? Am I missing something about Ork physiology that answers this question?
Well, out of all of the races. Orcs are one of the most adaptable. I see were your coming form and I would like to see the answer here, as asexual reproduction results in a EXACT DNA make up, so if you find a disease to kill one, you could in theory get them all. Maybe their way of power works, if enough things think it, that thing becomes true. And in the Orks case they will have enough people thinking about it
I dont know
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First off, if you've ever gotten mold in your ice box, you'd know that nothing short of a whole lot of bleach and purging by holy fire will clear it out. Once one item has become moldy, everything else becomes easily susceptible to it. The spores are in there, it's just a matter of keeping it from growing. There are plenty of things in the real world that reproduce asexually, and they haven't been wiped out by that one big flu.
Also, you're not taking into account Waaagh! energy, which seems to account for all orkish growth and mutation. As an example, the more orks fight, the bigger they physically get. The act of combat, and the Waaagh! energy that is associated with it, causes orks to gain size and strength, and possibly intelligence, considering that really most nobs or warbosses are really just orks that have a few more fights under their belt. Waaagh! energy would affect orks on a deeper level, giving any grown ork enough genetic variation to protect them from a too finely tailored virus. But, if you want something in line with the fluff, then the reasoning would be: orks are tougher than that. Super-killy-ork-killing-virus. Nope, orks are tougher than that too. That might have been taken verbatum.
As an aside, I believe it was in the Blood Angels codex where there is mention of a virus tailored to kill tyranids. So apparently such things exist in the 40k universe.
Well, historically i think Orks ARE highly susceptible to virusus, but the problem with extermination is that there are so many of them. From the earliest releases of 40k it has alway been stated that: wherever the Imperium go, Orks are already there. With an infestation of this magnitude, it would be difficult to eradicate completely, and as described above, if you don't kill them off entirely they just come back even stronger.
There are three types of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who cannot.
How do you know there is no sexual (rather than asexual) reproduction at the spore/germination stage?
No more NG spearmen, thanks! Now I need some pump-wagons!
That's a really interesting point, Paint Monkey, I hadn't thought of that. I guess when I heard that they reproduced through spores I assumed that it was asexual reproduction.
The older codices(rogue trader era even)say that the spores grow on the bodies of the orcs and are realeased by their swet or during their deaths.As for sexual reproduction:Has anyone seen any female ork?And reguarding the assexual reproduction virus vulnerability:
One has nothing to do with the other.It would be like saying plants dont evovle because they dont engage in intercource and its sientificaly proven to be wrong.Evolution doesnt require intercourse.The genetic data are been transfered from generation to generation via other means.ETC:
An orc who has taken many bolter rounds may release spores that have a genetic makeup to make its offspring slightly more resistant.This resistance will ofcaurse been seen to succesive generations due to the fact it will build up slowly and will require its offspring to be on the same conditions to force an evolutionary change after many generations.
Asexual reproduction is not cloning.Species that reproduce via dixotomy ie:splitting clone themselves.If you consider amibadae species then yes there is no evolution into this kind of 'species'.
If orcs were vulnurable to viruces on the level suggested then they couldnt colonise any other planet than their homeworld.It is almost impossible to move into an alien world with a fully functional eco system and survive without ill effects.The native microscopic organisms found even in the air will couse problems to a being that is not addapted to them.Fully put a race has to pay in blood or many generations of torment for its very adaptation to a new enviroment.
Praise be to the Emperor!!
Sexual reproduction doesn't require female orks, just sharing of genetic information.
For orks, this could be considered like this; there are lots of orks shedding spores, mostly when they're all excited or killed (usually one, then the other). It's rare for indvidual orks to die and they tend to get killed off in herds. This will lead to a kind of 'saturation effect' on the area with multiple origin spores. Each spore could germinate, send out fungal hyphae and contact other spores, allowing genetic sharing and recombination for forming an immature orkcyst that will develop into a greenskin.
I'm not saying this is gospel- just that it would explain how it might work to allow continued genetic diversity. Another option would be something like bacteria that swap discrete bundles of genetic code via fimbriae.
No more NG spearmen, thanks! Now I need some pump-wagons!