ATA Gene

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In the Stargate universe, ATA is an abbreviation for Ancient Technology Activation; the ATA gene allows holders to activate, manipulate and control technology built by the Ancients.[1]

In SG-1 Fic

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In SGA Fic

Because John Sheppard has a very strong expression of the gene, a lot of fic has the scientists calling on him to come and activate Ancient technology (sometimes this is referred to as "light switch duty," and Sheppard may be called a "human light switch"[2]) This was especially common in early John/Rodney fics, where authors needed more of a pretext to have the two interact. In later seasons, they are shown to be close friends as well as being on the same team, and thus the use of John's gene as a plot device has become less common. One genre of SGA fic posits that Sheppard's ATA gene is sufficiently "special" to make him closer to an Ancient than other carriers, or he is revealed to be a hidden or reincarnated Ancient.[3]

Sheppard's strong gene has also led to a trope wherein Atlantis is sentient, and considers John her "favorite son."[4] This topic can be treated lightly[5] or taken in much darker directions.[6]

In SGA/Harry Potter Crossover Fic

In this genre of crossover fiction, Potterverse witches and wizards are often depicted as possessing the ATA gene, or SGA characters are written as witches or wizards (for example, John Sheppard in Rokeon's Different Kinds of Magic[7]). The 'messy hair' of James and Harry Potter is sometimes taken to refer to a familial connection with John Sheppard. A classic crossover fic is Isis's Clarke's Law.[8]


  1. ^ Wikipedia, Ancient technology in Stargate, (Accessed 16 October 2008) Archived November 11, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ An early example is in Domenika Marzione's novelization of "The Rising": "Sheppard flew him to the outpost three more times, staying twice to work the control chair and play light switch for the scientists" (Accessed 27 February 2009) Archived November 25, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "SGA thematic list: John Sheppard as Ancient, Ori or Ascended". Archived from the original on 2014-02-07. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Sentient!Atlantis story list". Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
  5. ^ A humorous treatment of Atlantis's sentient status: Don't Panic, by bibliotech.
  6. ^ neery. "Foolproof And Incapable Of Error". Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
  7. ^ Rokeon, Different Kinds of Magic, accessed 2009 February 27 Archived July 5, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Isis, Clarke's Law, accessed 2009 February 27. Archived November 29, 2013 at the Wayback Machine