Overlord: You are to be the forefather of a new race, together along with Kar-La, this genetically perfect woman as your mate. As I said; I am experimenting with a new type of android that requires the seed of a specimen such as yourself to produce a new race... superior to these rather slow witted models.
Spoony: Eww! The androids need Yor's seed?! What kind of sick ass future is this?A character or group creates a "superior" being or beings through the good old-fashioned way (i.e. sex — or at least something involving a womb, artificial or not). This can take multiple forms, such as making it multi-generational or including supernatural/technologically augmented parents. This usually is an attempt to make Super Soldiers, but not always. The Social Darwinist, Those Wacky Nazis and Nazi-expies are often the masterminds behind the program, considering the very concept (Eugenics, which is a far less fantastic version of this in real life) is basically their ideal. Of course, since breeding to get the desired result is essentially hit-or-miss, expect plenty of discussion of what happens to undesirable results, and the angst that accompanies it. This shouldn't be confused with Designer Babies, who are artificially created to be better. Though, this is not to say that you can't have Designer Babies as part of the experience. Stalker with a Test Tube is a more individualized Sub-Trope. See also Superpowerful Genetics and Transhuman. May be the result of crossbreeding two species, creating a bunch of Half-Human Hybrids or Heinz Hybrids. Usually results in Superpowered Mooks. May require a Disposable Superhero Maker. Compare LEGO Genetics and/or Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke. Inevitably creates a Super Prototype. Usually works on the assumption of Evolutionary Levels.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In Sumomo Mo Momo Mo, Momoko Kuzuryu tries to sire a child with Koshi Inuzuka, because she thinks, that he could provide the perfect genetic material for children, who could use her family's most powerful techniques.
- In Sore wa Totsuzen, Unmei no Aite ga ("Suddenly, the Marriage Partner Showed Up"), the Japanese Government carries this via arranging the marriages of their citizens through an agency named "Coupling Center", which uses genetic compatibility as its main matchmaking drive. There is an option to refuse said matches, but so far it hasn't been used in-story.
- My Hero Academia has Quirk Marriages, marriages arranged with the intent of enhancing a particular Quirk down the bloodline. Shouto Todoroki is the result of one of these marriages, and possesses both the fire powers of his father and ice powers of his mother.
- In Terra Formars we have Joseph G. Newton. His family is part of a Breeding Cult that seeks mates based entirely on their genetic qualities in order to create the perfect human. They have been doing this for over 500 years and he is the current apex of that practice which gave him Mars Power Ranking #1 despite never using the transformation drug.
- In The Invaders comic in the Marvel Universe, Adolf Hitler wanted to marry his two most perfect warriors Master Man and Warrior Woman to breed a race of Nazi supermen.
- This was Mister Sinister's motivation for a long time, seeking to combine the DNA of Jean Grey and Scott Summers. The first time round, he did it the old fashioned way, with a clone of Jean programmed to fall in love with Scott called Madelyn Pryor. It ended badly. It partially succeeded, however, leading to the birth of Cable, who when unimpeded by the Techno-Organic virus, was a genuine threat to Apocalypse and strong enough to hold a floating island in the air while going toe to toe with the Silver Surfer.
- The Age of Apocalypse version went the artificial route and combined Jean and Scott's DNA, artificially ageing the result as a Living Weapon to kill Apocalypse. At full power, he was a fully fledged Reality Warper, Dimensional Traveller and possibly possessed of Resurrective Immortality (once he died after being infected by an artificial virus and essentially willed himself back to life). In any event, he was capable of becoming an Energy Being at will, stepping outside of time to see the future and accidentally bringing back the dead, something he did at least twice — once, it stuck. The second time, not so much. He also once claimed that he was born to destroy planets. No one contradicted him. Unsurprisingly, he's quite possibly the most powerful mutant in Marvel's publication history, with only Franklin Richards for a peer, to the point where Onslaught used the pair of them as batteries. So, yeah, it worked.
- In some versions of Spider-Man, Lizard was a reptile-supremacist Mad Scientist. This resulted in some wacky hijinks like cloned dinosaurs or poisoning humans with "instant lizardman" formulae.
- The Kree Supreme Intelligence, having realized they had reached a genetic dead end, became fascinated by the Kree-Human qualities of Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers). He kidnapped her and planned to mate her with Captain Marvel, but they managed to escape. Ironically, Carol became Ms. Marvel, at least in part, because of her attraction to Captain Marvel. (That was before she learned he was the Kree captain Mar-Vell, not human.) Dr. Minerva (aka Minn-Erva) later decided to make herself a Kree-Human hybrid and fulfill the Supremor's plans.
- Batman's Ra's Al-Ghul's plans tend to revolve around this in his search for an heir.
- In Game Theory (Fan Fic), the TSAB provides incentives for citizens with Rare Skills to have children in order to perpetuate their abilities. Megane conceived Lutecia through artificial insemination in part for this reason.
- In Wish Carefully, Death Eaters kidnapped a group of women to become the Cabal, to breathe in new life for their inbred bloodlines and ensure magically strong children.
Films — Live-Action
- The Super Mario Bros. movie's antagonist was trying to create a new breed of soldiers by transforming the denizens of his universe into large mooks with tiny heads.
- This is played straight in Adam R. Brown's Alterien series. The Alteriens breed with each other to continue their species. The Nano Alteriens will have children who inherit all their abilities despite techincally being half human. Their children also inherit their attractive physical traits, with none falling short of the beautiful faces and physiques of their parents, grandparents, etc.
- All over the place in Dune, starting from the Bene Gesserit with their Kwisatz Haderach project and their, um, specialists in this area. They got their Kwisatz Haderach, all right. They just didn't expect him to lead an army of Fremen and take over the known universe.
- The noble houses of the Landsraad, mostly by virtue of being the male side of the Bene Gesserit breeding program (and many of their daughters being recruited into the Bene Gesserit). An unusual case of a hereditary aristocracy that really is genetically superior to most of the general population.
- The imperial Sardaukar and the Fremen are two Badass Armies from Death Worlds where they Had To Be Sharp. Leto II creates a "crossbreed army" that surpasses either of them.
- Uruk-hai in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers were a result of Sauron's attempt at breeding orcs that would be more resilient and better suited to function in an organized society.
- In the Dystopian/science fiction classic Brave New World, a future society where people aren't even allowed to breed on their own, they use Uterine Replicators to genetically and biologically control the development of the fetus, and have multiple castes of humans, some vastly different in appearance and intelligence, based on what jobs they can have.note
- Vorkosigan Saga:
- In A Civil Campaign, a Barrayaran Count sets up a breeding program using cast-off female eggs and his own sperm in Uterine Replicators to create dozens of his own daughters, not as a bid to create some kind of pure or super race, but to improve the demographics of his county. (He picked daughters because Barrayar's patriarchal laws would give him more control over them, and also because Barrayar had an unbalanced gender ratio and the Count was trying to lure male taxpayers with marriage opportunities.) The wife (who'd already given him a few legitimate children) whose consent he did not have, wasn't very happy about it either. The Imperial government managed to find a culturally acceptable way of discouraging more of this without penalizing the innocent girls: the Count is ordered to provide them—ALL of them—with appropriate dowries.
- The Cetagandans are a better example of this. The haut, or the highest of their caste are working on a two-track system to create a superior breed of humanity, incorporating useful genes from lesser castes in order to modify themselves. Procreation is accomplished through replicators and negotiated genetic contracts, meaning not only may a set of parents not ever have sex, they might not even meet.
- The isolated Dunyain monks of the Second Apocalypse series have adhered to a breeding program for thousands of years to give them nearly superhuman mental and physical abilities. Their genes have become so exaggerated that they only rarely breed true. Insane or deformed children are traditionally discarded.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space series, the "Teela Brown gene", which makes a human being who possesses it amazingly lucky, is the product of a very long-term breeding program performed in secret by the Pierson's Puppeteers on the entire human race. By the chronologically last story in the series, "Safe at Any Speed", the gene has spread to the point that nearly 90% of all humans in the galaxy are lucky.
- Robert A. Heinlein
- The Howard Families of the Future History series are a breeding project for longevity. Considering Lazarus Long was born about three generations in and is still kicking (and sometimes contributing to the project) after more than two thousand years it seems to be a success.
- Heinlein's short story Gulf features a secret group of superintelligent humans who are engaged in a number of long term plans, including a breeding program to increase their own numbers as well as become a physically distinct species no longer capable of interbreeding with homo sapiens.
- In Tunnel in the Sky, a group of high school and college students are stranded on an alien planet when a survival test goes wrong. One of the college students, "Waxie", starts to filibuster that the colony should run on "scientific criteria" and that they're in a position to breed a super-race. During his bid for mayor, the pieces of a shattered clay pot are used his ballots, with the resident smartass declaring "the crackpots are votes for Waxie".
- In Christopher Nuttall's The Royal Sorceress, there's a breeding program for magicians called "The Farms". It is an effort to create Master Magicians(or at least multi-powered magicians), magicians with all magical abilities, instead of just one like other magicians(or the extremely rare magicians with two). There have only been five total Master magicians in history. Female magicians are sent to the farms unwillingly and used as breeding slaves by male magicians, and the resulting offspring are sent to be raised by magician nobles in order to increase the number of magical nobles loyal to Britain. In accordance to Superpowerful Genetics, most of the resulting offspring end up as magicians with a single power, who are actually weaker than their parents.
- In The Witcher there's a not-so-Ancient Conspiracy of long-living sorcerers who bred their own uber-mage (by the way, from leftovers of an older Elven program) manipulating a few "interesting" ancestries via arranged marriages, "random" quarrels and love potions. One sorceress who was induced into the secret immediately expressed her opinion on the idea very graphically — by swirling the visual representation of the bloodlines into complete chaos and stating that's how this works outside the official genealogy books. As in Dune, they ended up with something too hot for them to handle — but weren't wise enough to drop it before some got burns.
- Counselors and Kings trilogy tells about Halruaan tradition of divining for good marriages and tradition of occasionally arranging the births of antimagical Jordain. The first was generally suspected to be a work of Ancient Conspiracy breeding the desired talents and preventing undesirable, the second turned out to go much deeper and darker than the public believed.
- In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millenia, Chimera society revolved about this.
- In the Wild Cards series, the Takisians have this going on. Thousands of years in the past a small percentage of their population began to develop minor telepathic powers. The telepaths all quickly got together and started a eugenic breeding program that led to a significant increase in their powers, and their becoming a Supernatural Elite over their planet.
- In the Furry Web Serial Flight of the Godkin Griffin the Godkindred Kingdom believe that by breeding many different species together they can become gods. Social status is determined by the number of species in one's geneology.
- The Lensman series has the Arisian breeding program, which advances to penultimates in the Arisians' four best candidate species. Although the development of all four species is advanced as a result (with spinoff side benefits for the rest of the galaxy), the Arisians' ultimate goal for their breeding program is to create the ultimate telepathic weapon even though, as a consequence, they will make themselves obsolete as guardians of civilisation - a fate they accept to its logical extreme.
- Taken to perhaps the point of parody in The Tamuli, where the Atan race were originally a subset of Tamuls, who were bred for strength and size. After a thousand years or so, they had become so fearsome that they threatened to kill off themselves over minor feuds, so a system of cultural slavery was introduced, so that every Atan would only take orders from a Tamul official or other duly appointed authority (this mostly boils down to the Atans asking permission to avenge a perceived slight, getting a no, and going back to what they were doing before).
- In the Tower and the Hive series, there's no formal eugenics going on, but Talent is mostly heritable and strong Talents tend to marry strong Talents (for multiple reasons; among others, in FT&T powerful Talents primarily socialize with each other). This leads to the top spots in FT&T being dominated by a few extended families; one member of such responds to accusations of nepotism by calling it "smart family planning." Earlier in the series, FT&T offered up financial and positional incentives for Talents who had kids together, but it's implied that very few high-level Talents took them up on it, prior to The Rowan and Jeff Raven. (Hence why, by the final novel, 75% of Towers were run by Rowan and Raven's kids and grand kids.)
- According to Allegiant, people who entered the Bureau's walled off community in Chicago had to agree to have as many children as possible, with the purpose of eventually making "genetically pure" or "genetically healed" humans, known as Divergents.
- The Long Utopia, book four in The Long Earth series, reveals that a group of natural steppers - people who can move between alternate Earths - set one of these up in the 1800s. Pooling their resources, they created a long-term trust that would offer their descendants incentives to meet, marry and have kids (without telling them exactly why).
- In the Discworld novel Feet of Clay, the Big Bad had been breeding the royal family from behind the scenes for quite some time before they went missing. He takes a strong interest in Captain Carrot, who is almost certainly the long-lost scion of that bloodline.
- The Familiars from Dark Angel had been running one of these for millennia.
- Star Trek: The Original Series implied this is how Khan and his ilk came about. They were called the "Eugenics Wars," after all. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan retconned it to have been modern genetic engineering.
- The Psi Corps in Babylon 5, among other things, bred telepaths for psionic ability.
- The Expanded Universe claims that the telepathy gene is mitochondrial (i.e. passed down from the mother), so a union between a Mundane mother and a telepath father would result in a Mundane child. It's implied that father's genes serve to enhance the child's telepathy if he or she has received the gene from the mother (otherwise, breeding would be pointless). This fact also resulted in many female telepaths keeping their mothers' last name (e.g. the female Alexander line stretches back to the founding of the Psi Corps).
- In Doctor Who, Luke Rattigan plans this for the students at his academy, all fellow teen geniuses, in order to populate another planet with a "super race" of humans. They're understandably freaked out when he reveals this plan (amongst other equally frightening suggestions...)
- The aliens in Taken were doing this with some of the abducted humans. Allie was the result.
- In Supernatural, Sam and Dean are the end result of generations of matchmaking by the forces of Heaven and Hell to produce the True Vessels for the Archangels Lucifer and Michael respectively.
- The Dragon-Bloods in Exalted tried to keep their blood "pure" by only mating with each other in an earlier time in the setting. This loosened somewhat as the Second Age rolled on, and they started sleeping with mortals, at a corresponding cost to their power. The Dynasty has the purest blood of the Terrestrial Exalted in Creation, since they descend from the Empress (who was either of unusual purity or completely pure-blooded, Depending on the Writer) and keep tighter track of their genealogies.
- The Lintha also try their hand at this, but since Polyamory is expected of all pure-blooded Lintha, it's a practical impossibility to determine for certain who the real father of any given Lintha was.
- A few Lintha are also secretly running much more carefully documented breeding programs that are less concerned with the more ideological notions of blood purity that prohibit mating with non-Lintha, as well as being more direct in breeding in some god and demon blood. It's actually having some good returns, but is so dreadfully heretical that their scale has to be kept fairly small, lest it be discovered and everybody involved brutally executed.
- The Lintha also try their hand at this, but since Polyamory is expected of all pure-blooded Lintha, it's a practical impossibility to determine for certain who the real father of any given Lintha was.
- The Clans of BattleTech have a multi-generational version of this, where only the best of the best warriors are allowed to breed. But they turn out to not be much better than the Inner Sphere's "freeborn" soldiers, especially when it came to strategy.
- Warhammer 40,000's Fabius Bile has long been experimenting with this kind of science, in order to spread his twisted "new men" across the galaxy. Fabius's idea of what constitutes human perfection is not exactly pleasant...
- Believing in eugenics, the Nazis of Rocket Age have been working on breeding perfect Aryans.
- In Metamor City the Psi Collective organizes many of its members into polyamorous "breeding cells" in order to increase their numbers and the power of the next generation. Unfortunately because one man can have children with several women at once many weaker men such as Daniel are forbidden from forming cells while practically every woman with a pulse is encouraged to join one.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the People's Republic of China did this with their superhumans for nearly forty years, with the intention of creating an army of superhumans that were loyal to the People's Republic. They had about a 50/50 success rate.
- In Spinnerette North Korea had a breeding program intended to create more supervillains like Colonel Glass. They kidnapped women who had the Cherenkov-Kirby reaction in their bloodline, impregnated them, and exposed them to radiation. Mecha Maid was one of the children produced, she suspects the radiation caused her ALS.
- A HUGE plot point in Fire Emblem Awakening, since The Avatar alias YOU is the product of one of these, held by the the Grimleal cult for at least four generations, to breed a person who can be the perfect vessel of Grima. And the current leader of the project? The Avatar's biological father, Validar. Too bad the Avatar's biological mother changed her mind...
- And let's not forget the meta example of players pairing their characters to do some Min-Maxing on the next generation...
- The Pokémon games have allowed the player to do this since Pokémon Gold and Silver. It's pretty much a requirement if you want to play competitively against other people or even do well at the various battle facilities that are unlocked in the post-game. Each generation of games after Gold and Silver have also made breeding better monsters easier and easier, and allows you to customize the monster with high stats, moves that they can't normally learn, rare abilities and even shiny forms on top of that.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, it is explained that the Tevinter Imperium practices the "arranged marriage" version of this. All social power is held by aristocratic human mages, and they've spent generations inter-marrying to exploit Superpowerful Genetics.
- The Nazi eugenics program to maintain a Master Race of Aryan Übermensch.
- The Eugenics movement in the United States, which enforced the removal of "defective" members of society: criminals, The Mentally Ill, "Feeble-minded" individuals, prostitutes, immigrants, etc. This resulted in sterilization of around 60,000 people during the early 20th century.
- Domestication involves doing this to certain animals. Even if the animal's life cycle can be observed within a human's lifetime, the process still takes decades. Breeding for docility can have very profound effects on the animal's appearance in addition to its behavior. One experiment to breed domestic foxes had them become very similar to domestic dogs (they behaved like puppies well into adulthood, and even gained piebald coats).
- Farming has done this for plants as well. Selective breeding over thousands of years has created fruits, vegetables, and grains that are much larger and more nutritious than their wild counterparts.