Ectobiology is a science that allows the cloning, breeding and genetic modification of an organism using appearification. Players of Sburb and their ancestors or guardians are created via ectobiology. John performs the ectobiology in the pre-Scratch kids' session and Karkat in the post-Scratch trolls' session. It would appear that the only known Sburb players not paradoxically created through Ectobiology are Calliope and Caliborn, who are the offspring of two adult cherubs.
Its processes are apparently easily automated, and the Homestuck universe houses several machines dedicated to specific Ectobiology tasks. Many of these are in labs within The Veil. Rose's Mom is also known to possess a semi-functional one.
John Egbert uses the chumhandle ectoBiologist on Pesterchum, although he was likely unaware that it was a real science. He adopts the handle after Terezi used the term in a conversation with him. Ectobiology coincidentally involves Green Slime Ghosts, more or less.
When using an Appearifier, the regular function is to transport one thing from another point in time and space to that current point of time and space. However, if appearifying would result in a paradox (such as in the case of Rose trying to appearify Jaspers before she would later actually appearified him ), a green Paradox Ghost Imprint is created instead that collapses into a pile of slime.
An Ectobiology Apparatus is a machine used to intentionally appearify said paradox slime for ectobiology and has a tube that is used to contain the paradox slime from the target. These apparatuses are found in the Ectobiology Lab in the Veil, next to an associated Cloning Pad, and have at least enough tubes for the multiple performances of ectobiology needed to create that sessions players and if a scratched session, their counterparts.
Ectobiology involves using these piles of ghost slime, which contains their genetic code. The Ectobiology equipment analyses the slime and extracts the genome, which can be used to produce clones or breed new creatures if mixed with other samples of ghost slime.
A similar device is found in the Phernalia Registry, for use by Space players. However, this device differs in one respect: it is, relatively speaking, downright tiny. This is because it is intended for the cloning and breeding of a special species: Frogs. Its Ectobiology Terminal is also deployable.
- Main article: Paradox Clone
The results of Ectobiology are known as Paradox clones which can be broken into 3 types: Perfect clones, Mutations, and Breeding.
Perfect clones are made by taking a ghost imprint of a person and creating a perfect clone. The resulting spawn is sent back in time to grow up and become the thing that was cloned in the first place. Thus, a perfect Paradox clone must always be destined to be sent back in time. Nanna, Grandpa, Dave's Bro, and Rose's Mom were created by John this way. Paradox clones are a classical case of an ontological paradox. Essentially, for example, Nanna is cloned and sent back to the past to grow up and become cloned in the first place.
Mutant clones which are made in the same way but are mutated as they are not destined to be sent back in time to become themselves. Mutie is a clone of Jaspers, but since Jaspers is not a Paradox Clone and never was, the resulting clone ends up as a mutation. Apparently a setting can be modified in order to induce mutation to prevent the creation of clones that are destined to travel back to become themselves. Deliberate mutation is necessary in the creation of the Genesis Frog.
Mom seems to have attempted to Paradox Clone Jaspers, but her attempt failed, and the resulting clone was the mutated kitten Mutie. However as Mutie later joined Mom on her meteor as a baby it may in fact be an ancestor of Jaspers. Rose accidentally created another trying to appearfiy Jaspers, but the result was a horribly mutated kitten that was killed a few minutes after by a meteor.
Breeding is done by combining 2 (or more) genetic samples, a resulting combination of this DNA is made in a way similar to regular breeding. Due to the nature of Paradox Space, something bred through ectobiology can still travel back in time to become part of the sequence of events that lead to its creation in the first place.
John, Rose, Dave and Jade are examples of breeding, as they were created by mixing DNA of their Guardians. The Genesis Frog is also created through a combination of breeding and induced mutation.
First Guardians are also created through Ectobiology as a unique case of breeding as the genetic code for their power is inserted into the process through the Ectobiology equipment as opposed to through Ectobiology itself. Becquerel was created by the Draconian Dignitary mixing the MEOW DNA code with the DNA of Halley. Doc Scratch was created through a similar process involving Lil' Cal, a Magic Cue Ball and the t1CK t0ck 8r8k H34DS honk HONK code, which may have just been a fragmented version of the MEOW code.