Genetic Engineering, a.k.a. genetic modification is the process of manipulating DNA through biotechnology. When the Human Genome Project was completed in 2001, genetic engineering really took off. Genetic engineering proved controversial when it started, but as time went on it became more widely accepted.
Following the Human Genome Project, some people had their genomes sequenced. This was expensive at first, but with help from scientists, such as Stephen R. Quake, the cost went down. By 2012, the cost was $1,000. In a few years, more and more people had their genomes sequenced. The repercussions included discrimination, but in 2017, the US Supreme Court ruled that genetic discrimination was unconstitutional. The biggest repercussion was the rise of personalized medicine.
With the advent of full genome sequencing, many pharmaceutical companies started creating medicine that targeted specific genes that caused disease. This was a major accomplishment for all of humanity. People could predict the onset of disease, and then prevent them from occurring. This reduced the number of deaths from disease. Many Ashkenazi Jews were living longer lives than ever before. Throughout the world, laws were passed requiring full genome sequencing in hopes of preventing the onset of disease. It did work. Full genome sequencing and personalized medicine were only the first two steps of the biotech revolution. There were more to come.
See also: Nanotechnology.
Tissue engineering involves growing new organs to replace old ones. Less diabolical than The Island, there was no need to create a full clone to serve as an organ farm. It had always been hard to find an organ transplant until this technology entered the marketplace. Doctors were growing organs for their patients. Waiting lists had fewer patients. The amount of deaths due to failure to receive an organ transplant sharply decreased. The key to this technology was stem cells.
Embryonic stem cells could create cells of any type throughout their lives. But scientists had to kill an embryo to get the stem cells. This led to political and ethical stumbling blocks. The solution was Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. By turning adult cells back into stem cells, scientists went around the stumbling blocks. This allowed replacement organs to become much more common than they were before. This became important during World War III. It would help save lives and reduce the amount of deaths. But stem cells could be used for more than just growing replacement organs. They could grow full clones.
In 1997, Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh cloned Dolly the Sheep. The success of the experiment caught the public's attention. Since then, many scientists have cloned a wide variety of animals including mice, goats, cats, pigs, dogs, horses, and even cattle, with more animals that were well on the way to be cloned. They would even clone the clones. This technology was a revolution in animal husbandry.
Although cloning revolutionized animal husbandry, the implications for humans were at first unclear. Most Christians (until World War III) and Muslims opposed it, Hindus and Buddhists would only accept it if the memories could be preserved, and Jews and Atheists accepted the technology. When primates were cloned for the first time during the second decade of the 21st century, the arguments really took off. These arguments, however, fell on the back-burner during World War III.
After the HVKER, the rail gun, and the carbon nanotube armor were created, the Geronimo Project started thinking about an idea first proposed in the movie Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones: a clone army. On July 10, 2040, USMC Sergeant Faith-Anne Smythe was cloned. The cloning process was a success. Next, they tried experimenting with growth acceleration without success.
When the Geronimo Project was split, Geronimo II was given the task of creating a clone army. The scientists interviewed Faith-Anne Smythe whose template was used for the first successful human clone. A second attempt to clone her was unsuccessful because the new clone died not long after. Undaunted, Geronimo II carried on and finally succeeded in creating a clone and using growth acceleration. They received help from the use of IPS cells. On October 17, 2043, the Geronimo Project transferred its cloning research to the US Army, and full-scale production took off. The clones were genetically modified to eliminate genetic disorders, and some were even modified to be super-soldiers. Geronimo II would turn to genetically modifying living people to serve as supersoldiers while civilian doctors used genetic engineering to eliminate genetic disorders for good.
Curing Genetic Disorders
Genetic disorders have been a problem for people since their evolution. When the Human Genome Project, many genetic disorders started being cured. The single-gene disorders went first. Multiple-gene disorders took a while to get cured. The first genetic disorder to be cured was sickle cell anemia which was commonly found in African-Americans. This was followed by Tay-Sachs disease which was found mostly in Ashkenazi Jews. Another example was cystic fibrosis which was found in some Germanic peoples. During World War III, as clones were being mass-produced, there was fear that these clones would have genetic disorders. So if a genetic disorder was spotted, the scientists would deploy nanotechnology to eliminate the genetic disorders. Some genetic disorders were difficult to cure because they were caused by multiple genes. One of the most difficult was cancer.
Cancer was one of the hardest diseases to cure. Ever since 1971, scientists had been trying to find a cure for cancer. Few had succeeded until the Human Genome Project showed that cancer was caused by genetic mutations. Multiple solutions were used to target cancer: antiangiogenesis which was pioneered by Judah Folkman, nanoparticles that target cancer cells which was pioneered by Sam Wickline, new drugs that only target cancer cells, new vaccines that target viruses that cause cancer like HPV, and especially gene therapy. The Cancer Genome Atlas was a project intended to find all genes that cause cancer. The main target was p53. The gene for this protein could be mutated by anything harmful. One scientist made a revolution. He invented a gene therapy that not only fixed p53. It also improved it by making it resistant to damage. The number of cancer deaths was reduced by a lot. As a matter of fact, in the later years of World War III and afterwards, many people started trying to improve DNA.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, the super-soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America affected not just his muscles, but also his cells. In the real world, during World War III, scientists came up with a way of creating a super-soldier through genetic manipulation. This enhanced the physical and mental capabilities of people beyond normal human limits. The first supersoldiers were clones who were genetically modified in cloning factories. As they were no longer working on clones, Geronimo II started working on turning non-clones into supersoldiers. They perfected the process in 2045, and the new supersoldiers, all of whom had been members of the 2nd Volunteer Army, saw action in the liberation of Japan from China. After World War III, this technology was brought into mainstream society. Society was altered at that point.
Following World War III, the genetic modification process used to create supersoldiers was made public. This led to a radical change in society. There was a rise in designer babies. For the first time, parents could modify the genes of their unborn children to get what they want. Some would even mix in animal features. By modifying the genes that control basic functions, many people were being born that had enhanced physical and mental abilities. This controversial technology had radically altered society significantly. As time went on, the ramifications became clear.
As time went on, many of the world's youth started using genetic engineering to express themselves as individuals. Sex organs were the most common at first, and some people, mostly homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals, modified themselves to become hermaphrodites. Later on, many subcultures used genetic engineering so that they would resemble what they normally dressed up as permanently. With that, wigs, tattoos, make-up, nail polish, face and body paint, hair dye, etc. became obsolete. Some people changed their skin, hair, and/or eye color to non-natural tones. Some became anthropomorphic animals. Some even resembled fictional characters (For example, in Japan, the Otaku sub-culture started modifying themselves to permanently resemble anime and manga characters, most to the point that they take on an appearance similar to a cartoon character in anime.). Others became increasingly neotenous. Some women to increase attractiveness modified themselves, so that they looked like they were wearing make-up and nail polish all the time. Many also attained a natural neural interface. A few have even changed their biochemistry. You could not predict what genetic engineering would lead to. One issue needed to be solved.
Even after genetic engineering was perfected at Geronimo II, and after it was used to win World War III, genetic discrimination remained a major issue. Many clones and augments argued that since they helped defeat the Chinese that they should be granted equal rights. This argument was supported by the more liberal members of society such as Jews, Africans, and Hispanics. The argument went on for years until, finally, in 2074, the UN passed an amendment to its constitution banning genetic discrimination and all other forms of discrimination. The stage was set for a revolution in biotechnology.
Now, the biggest thing that genetic engineering would do was cure aging. Attempts at slowing aging had in the second decade of the 21st century been successful for only 2 months. By the 2070s, it had gone to 12. Now, eternal youth could enter the market. At first, it was expensive and required multiple treatments. As time went on and demand increased, a single treatment replaced all others. By the end of the 21st century, it was now possible to reverse aging. One key to this immortality was the use of turtles that keep organs from breaking down. One of the fears was that overpopulation would result. However, after World War III, these fears had subsided because the population had been reduced by the war. The fears were still there, and the solution was space colonization. However, genetic engineering would go beyond medicine.
After World War III, many people had aspirations about resurrecting extinct life-forms. The earliest successful attempts resulted in the resurrection of animals from the Pleistocene like the woolly mammoth. It was thought that resurrecting earlier animals was impossible because of the half-life of DNA. They were wrong. It was through dino blood found in insect amber that dinosaurs were brought back. It was a revolution. By the end of the 21st century, the oldest resurrected species was Meganeura, a giant dragonfly that lived during the Carboniferous period. Genetic engineering could even create new life.
In 2010, J. Craig Venter created the first synthetic life-form, a bacterium called Mycoplasma laboratorium. As time went on, more complex synthetic life-forms were created. Plants that could turn into furniture and animals with customizable features were now possible. Some experiments led to the creation of new species. By 2075, scientists even created synthetic humans. This was controversial, but by the end of the 21st century, it became more widely accepted. Humanity now had control of its future.