Cell competency (DNA uptake)

One feature in the microbial stage that I think would be really interesting is cell competency, or the ability for cells to take in DNA from the environment and add it to their own genome. In gameplay, unlocking cell competency could serve as a long-term investment: the initial mutation allowing competency could be expensive, but if another cell around you dies, you could take in their DNA. After that, any mutations that were present in the dead cell would be cheaper the next time you edit your organism. Or maybe that’s too overpowered. Any thoughts?


I like it. It works both from a game perspective and sort of from a natural perspective.
It would change a lot of gameplay, since you would end up playing as a sort of predator that can basically copy its victims, making the attacking of other predators viable too since you’ll be able to get their (attack-oriented) organelles cheaper.
Balance-wise it shouldn’t be too difficult, since if it were OP you could just decrease the amount the price drops after a kill. Maybe you could even have it work in multiple, expensive upgrades, forcing you to invest multiple generations in it to unlock its full potential.
Realism-wise it is a bit weirder, since the ability is only used by bacteria IRL, and using the nucleus is going to be required to progress to the next stage, (or at least the one after that, since the only multicellular bacteria are simple plants) so it would be impossible to reach the next stage using the upgrade for the biggest part of the gameplay, unless you rush multicellularity as soon as you acquired the nucleus. It might be able to be changed somehow to something that would work with a nucleus, though I’m not sure how that would work from a scientific perspective, due to it not really being my field.
All in all, it seems a pretty fun upgrade which would change up the gameplay by a lot, which is always good.


Yeah that’s true, competent eukaryotes wouldn’t really be scientifically accurate at all. The only thing even remotely similar that I’m aware of would be DNA that eukaryotes get from viral infections but that’s not really something that could be implemented in the same way


I guess DNA storage should be an interesting factor. A self-contained nucleus versus an open nucleoid.
The nucleus does unlock additional complexity in the editor - membrane-bound organelles.
But what other advantages and trade-offs could open DNA vs nuclei pose?

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