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Prime universe
(Capcom's primary storyline)

Mold in the basement of the Baker house.

Mold is a genus of fungus which is believed to have originated in an Eastern European mountain range. Though its interactions with humans has taken place over centuries, it was first subject to scientific study in the early 20th century. Samples of Mold were obtained by The Connections in the 1990s as a potential source of bioweapons research, the result of which were human B.O.W.s capable of mind control.[1][2][3] As many as six species of Mold are known to exist, separated between the naturally-occurring Mold native to Europe and the A-Type through E-Type genetically-modified species developed by The Connections.

History

Natural species

The exact origins of the Mold are presently unknown, though anthropological and architectural evidence in Eastern Europe suggest the Black God supercolony lived for millenia. This supercolony is linked to a cave-dwelling society native to the region, who are said to have disappeared,[4] and there are signs of increased Mold activity in the 15th century as well, where those infected by it were seen as monsters. The Mold first became the focus of scientific research in 1919, led by Miranda, a biologist of the region who herself mutated after being exposed to the fungus. For the next century, Miranda experimented on the other villagers and explored research into creating genetically-modified organisms from the Mold, such as the Cadou. Having made physical contact with the Black God, Miranda assimilated memories from hundreds of thousands who had been consumed by the Black God since it had emerged.[5] The Black God was destroyed in February 2021 following a BSAA operation.[6]

Weaponized species

Eveline was the culmination in human-Mold bioweapons research, and was the genetically-modified granddaughter of Mother Miranda.

For more information on the weaponised species developed for human bioweaponry, see D-Type and E-Type.

In the 1990s, The Connections made contact with Miranda, seeking to genetically engineer a species of Mold to be sold as a black market bioweapon. Taking advantage of the Mold's natural quorum sensing abilities, work began on a bioweapon capable of neutralizing enemy combatants through mind control. Prototype human bioweapons were produced by infecting pre-Stage 4 human embryos with the prototype Mold species.[1] These bioweapons were to infect enemy combatants through physical contact, allowing the Mold to enter the body and form a mass in the brain. To maintain the bioweapons' cover, the embryos were genetically modified to rapidly age, with a regular course of medication preventing growth beyond that of a 10-year old.[1]

Over several years, five lines of human B.O.W.s were created, each better able to control the Mold than the last and blend into human society. Each was given a letter-number designation to determine their position in the line, starting from A-E.[1] The prototype E-Type, "E-001" — otherwise known as Eveline — showed remarkable abilities, able to use quorum sensing to affect individual human hosts. This would result in complete assimilation of Mold within an imitation human who would appear identical to their pre-infection self, as was the case of Ethan Winters, or result in the extreme mutation of imitation humans who would serve a specific purpose for the E-Type, such as Jack Baker. Those suffering mycosis deemed undesirable could also be simply consumed by the mycelia and killed, as was the case of Alan.[7] In further analysis of Eveline's abilities, she was immediately able to induce visual hallucinations and bend the will of infected individuals from a distance, subjecting them to auditory hallucinations ranging from her talking, to humming, to a crowd of whispers, and even to sounds like a piano playing. These hallucinations could be used by the E-Type to drive their victims insane, especially to the point of self-mutilation, and the psychological shock helped break down the mind's natural barriers and open the way to Eveline's brainwashing abilities.[1]

Biology

While Mold as a whole is identifiably fungal in nature, its unique biology renders it totally distinct from any other genus of fungus. In its natural form, Mold is released into the air as spores and enters the bodies of host organisms, where in humans it proceeds to form a mycelial growth in the brain, resulting in a form of mycosis that leaves the host susceptible to quorum sensing. From there, spores detach from this growth and spread around the rest of the body. Upon contact with a cell, horizontal gene transfer takes place, resulting in the host's cells being replaced by near-identical imitation cells formed from the Mold.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT)

Marguerite Baker is one example of the Mold's extreme use of HGT, resulting in her developing non-human characteristics.

Another example of HGT is Miranda's ability to assimilate the DNA of others. After abducting Mia Winters, Miranda was able to perfectly imitate her.

In nature, two vastly different organisms are able to exchange genes unique to their class, phylum, or even kingdom, typically with a parasitic or prey organism transferring genes to its host or predator. For example, the DNA of the protozoa Plasmodium vivax is believed to include genes of human origin, and herring are known to have genes of Piscean origin. Horizontal gene transfer between the Mold and other organisms, however, are far more extreme, with most or even the entirety of the host genome being transferred to the parasitic spores, which allow them to perfectly imitate their functions in the host body. In the case of Ethan Winters, prolonged mycosis resulted in every cell of his body being replaced with an imitation;[8] though a thorough medical examination removed the mycelial cluster, the imitation cells were not identified at the time. In more extreme cases of mycosis, mycelial clusters will assimilate the DNA of various organisms, resulting in chimeras. This was seen in Marguerite Baker, a Louisiana housewife who was observed to grow imitation spiders, wasps and centipedes out of her fatty tissue, while her uterus became that of a beehive.[9] These imitation organisms, imperfect replicas of naturally-occurring arthropods, were capable of surviving independently.[10][note 1]

Quorum sensing

Through quorum sensing, Eveline was able to communicate with Mia Winters over long distances in the form of an hallucination.

Quorum sensing is a biological function in which a change in behavior exhibited by one individual within a colony will have an effect on the others, even if not exposed to those same conditions. One example is that of Vibrio fischeri, a species of marine bacteria which is known to be bioluminescent, but will only express the necessary genes when it achieves a high population density. This density is determined by individual bacteria, which will release autoinducers when the set conditions have been achieved; the very presence of autoinducers then triggers the expression by other bacteria in the colony. In certain species of Pseudomonas, achieving a high-population density triggers the expression of anaerobic metabolic genes, allowing them to change from aerobic to anaerobic respiration.

Research by The Connections indicates an equivalent to quorum sensing is used by the Mold, and this function has been observed in both mycelia and imitation organisms, allowing for thoughts and memories to be exchanged between clusters just as information on a computer passes through a network. In Eastern Europe, Miranda was capable of dividing her body into a small colony of imitation animals that each would carry her conscious mind and operate together. She was able to use this ability to take the form of a murder of crows to travel long distances.[11] The Dimitrescu daughters, Bela, Cassandra and Daniela, were themselves able to divide their bodies into swarms of flies which retained their intelligence. The E-Type human bioweapon, Eveline, was able to project her thoughts into the minds of those suffering from mycosis, which to others appeared in the form of visual and auditory hallucinations. By piggybacking on the mycelia growing in the walls and ground around the Baker ranch, Eveline was able to project these thoughts into people on the other side of the ranch, such as Mia and Ethan Winters' recorded hallucinations of her in the Old House.[10][12]

Mycorrhiza

Black God lay at the heart of the European Mold supercolony.

When a Mold supercolony has reached sufficient mass, it will begin forming a mycorrhiza. As observed both in Eastern Europe and Louisiana, these are large mycelial masses that occupy a large volume of space, and are used as a vault where memories and assimilated DNA can be stored there indefinitely. During his experiences in Louisiana, Winters was briefly consumed by the mycorrhiza there, and was able to communicate with an archive of Jack Baker's conscious mind, who was able to recall meeting Eveline three years prior.[13] When Miranda touched the Black God mycorrhiza in Europe, she was able to experience the memories of people who had been dead for centuries.[5] This archival ability was put to the ultimate test in 2021, when Miranda attempted to coax the Black God into transferring an archive of her deceased daughter, Eva's, conscious mind into that of Rosemary Winters. Though the attempt was a failure, this was due to unforeseen conditions unrelated to the Black God, which could have succeeded otherwise.[14]

As assimilated DNA can be stored in the Mycorrhiza, at a certain size it is capable of budding. In 2021, it was observed by both Winters and Cpt. Chris Redfield that the Black God itself was growing imitation moroi and lycans, dropped onto the ground from its tentacles.[15] Like the arthropods that grew from Marguerite Baker in Louisiana, these organisms were able to survive on their own.[15]

Further notes

  • The Mold's history is portrayed differently in the localized versions of the game. The NEXBAS Project is not described in the original Japanese script, while the compound word "mutamycete", which means "changing fungus", does not appear at all. Instead, the Japanese script uses the word kin (菌), which simply means "fungus".
  • Even though Ethan and Mia were quite a distance away from the Baker Farm when at the Wrecked Ship, Eveline could still induce auditory and visual hallucinations, suggesting that the range of Eveline's piggybacking off the mycelia was quite large.

Sources

notes
  1. It is observed with the Man-eating spiders that they only have six legs, making them imperfect imitations.
references
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), file: "R&D Report (1 of 2)".
  2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), file: "R&D Report (2 of 2)".
  3. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), file: "Infection Report".
  4. Resident Evil Village (2021), file: "Officer's Diary".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Resident Evil Village (2021), file: "Miranda's Diary".
  6. Resident Evil Village (2021), scene: "Rose".
  7. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), scene: "Death of a Friend".
  8. Resident Evil Village (2021), scene: "Remember".
  9. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), scene: "Daughters middle scene 4".
  10. 10.0 10.1 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), Ethan Old House gameplay.
  11. Resident Evil Village (2021), scene: "The Final Movement Part 3".
  12. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), "Mia" tape footage.
  13. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), scene: "The Sad Truth".
  14. Resident Evil Village (2021), scene: "Eradicating Evil".
  15. 15.0 15.1 Resident Evil Village (2021), Chris stage gameplay.
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