- For Information about descendants whose abilities physically alter their appearance see Protomorphism
Descendants is the official term for people in the Descendants Universe who are born with seemingly supernatural powers as a direct result of an ancestor being experimented on during World War II. The name is meant to be taken literal: these people are the descendants of the experimentation subjects.
The term first appears in Descendants #8 - Objectivity, spoken by General Pratt. It came to prominence in Descendants #12, when Darkness announced the team name to the media. This was followed up by the formation of Descendant's Rights Worldwide as an advocacy group for descendants. It is now accepted parlance to use the term descendant.
The author has listed several specific 'rules' that powers have to follow in terms of biology including:
- The powers are caused by 'damage' to certain genes.
- The affected genes usually appear on the X chromosome, so females are more likely to inherit powers than males.
- Having the specific gene only makes one a carrier and does not necessarily mean powers will manifest.
- A given gene only produces a certain effect, but that effect can vary greatly from person to person even among siblings.
Until the events of Descendants 12 - Here and Now, and the work of Descendant's Rights Worldwide descendants were referred to by the scientifically outdated term psionic. Scientists used the term psionic when trying to discover the source of descendants abilities. When they were first studied, all descendants appeared to have psionic abilities. By the time that descendants with non-psionic abilities appeared psionic had taken off, this is why institutions such as The Academy were named psionic not descendant.
While not considered a slur to descendants, using the term psionic after this is considered rude or ignorant at best.