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"If you can't build a better mousetrap, build a better mouse."
Daoming Sochua"Scientific Morality Vol. I" (Designer Lifeforms), Civilization: Beyond Earth

The biological counterpart to Cyborging: instead of altering humans to add machine parts, the geeks in the lab-coats change the flesh, blood and DNA.

Genetic engineering and stem cell research opens new avenues in the way science. For Science Fiction writers, this can be extrapolated into a way to create modified humans to suit any environment. You could think of them as artificially created Mutants, but "artificially created" is the key to the definition. They're created on purpose, not by freak accident like being bombarded with gamma radiation or other exposure to Green Rocks.

On the mild end, this can entail things that, if current medical science keeps trending the way it does in Real Life, may not sound all that fantastic in a few decades: limb grafts, biological prosthetics and less visible gene mod enhancements that make people smarter, stronger and better at stuff. Further down the fantastic scale you start to get genetic superpowers, quick and easy drastic cosmetic changes from plastic surgery on up (want green skin and spots? No problem!), extra limbs and stuff that makes humans look a lot more like aliens than most Human Aliens.

Can be combined with Cyborging for even more body mod fun. Certain types of Functional Magic may accomplish the same thing but many or most of them are better listed under Mix-and-Match Critters or Hybrid Monster, and of those remaining, should be looked at with Clarke's Third Law in mind. Is a newer trope than cyborging because Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke (and shares some but not all examples with it). Also see Organic Technology, LEGO Genetics, Magic Genetics, Superpowerful Genetics, Mix-and-Match Critters, Artistic License – Biology, Designer Babies, Bio Punk, and its Super-Trope, Transhuman. Can overlap with the Stock Superpower of Biomanipulation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Appleseed has "bioroids", Artificial Humans with genetically suppressed aggressiveness.
  • Claymore: The Claymores are pretty much normal human girls who are transformed into superhuman half-demon warriors by transplanting the blood and flesh of said demons (Yoma) into them.
  • Although Androids 17 and 18 from Dragon Ball Z are referred to as cyborgs, the majority of their enhancements are in fact Organic Technology on the cellular level, resulting in Perpetual Motion Monsters with superhuman strength.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex also has a bioroid, Proto, in the second season.
  • Gundam:
    • Coordinators and Extended in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. The former are humans genetically engineered to be peak mental and physical specimens of the human race, the latter are ordinary humans turned supersoldiers through years of mental conditioning and carefully administered drug regimens.
    • The Human Reform League in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 also uses genetic engineering to create Super Soldiers with telepathic ability. Such a project produced Allelujah and Soma.
    • The Universal Century has Cyber-Newtypes from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam on. Using a combination of surgery, drugs, and mental conditioning, ordinary humans can be given the reaction times and psychic abilities of newtypes. The downside is sharp drop in mental stability, especially in the earlier examples.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans has the Alaya-Vijnana system, a Brain/Computer Interface implant that takes the form of protrusions from the spine called "whiskers". The surgical procedure is painful and dangerous, at least in the crude form used by ruthless mercenary groups on cast-off children. The prevailing "pure humanity" ideology of Earth opposes even basic prosthetics, so A-V users face significant prejudice.
  • In Guyver, the entire business plan of the Chronos Corporation is to "optimize" humans into monstrous Zoanoids.
  • The Millennium Organization in Hellsing uses surgical procedures to turn Nazi soldiers into vampires in order to better their odds at world domination.
  • Knights of Sidonia has a number of alterations made among the humans of Sidonia. The major one being photosynthesis: the last couple of generations are capable of drawing energy from sunlight, and spending some time sunbathing each day means they only have to eat once a week. A third gender was also introduced, having No Biological Sex until, usually during their teen years, they fall in love and their body changes to the gender opposite of their intended (not a conscious choice on their part). We're also shown a group of cloned sisters who all have Super Strength and were rapidly grown to adulthood within a few years. Then there's the leadership of Sidonia, the Immortal Council, who, as their name suggests, are biologically immortal and do not ever age. Their existence is kept secret from the general populace.
  • Absalom in One Piece is a freakish mixture of animal parts all sewn to his previously normal human body. You can't see most of it normally except for his lion's mouth. Unfortunately for him, biology and physics don't work the same in this world, so Sanji is much stronger than the bear muscles comprising Absalom's limbs.
  • Rebuild World: Multiple types of Differently Powered Individual exist thanks to inheriting this from Transhuman Precursors known as the Old World that the setting's After the End of, who were fantastically advanced with Nanomachines and Organic Technology. In fact, the country the protagonist lives in are called mutants by people to the west of it for having them. Such powers include wireless Brain/Computer Interface (old world connector), Super Strength (superhumans), and Psychic Radar (unnamed). The protagonist Akira is an old world connector and has to hide it or else They Would Cut You Up to try and reverse-engineer it. Or just be captured for Superhuman Trafficking.
  • Tsukune and Hokuto from Rosario + Vampire are humans who have been infused with the blood of monsters and have gained some of their powers, as well as some mental instability.
  • Snow White and Seven Dwarfs revolves around "tekigousha," people who've obtained special abilities (primarily of the Blessed with Suck variety) by undergoing human experimentation. Virtually every major character is a product of said experimentation.
  • Many Bishokuya from Toriko are infused with Gourmet Cells which cause mutations giving them special powers and limited Adaptive Ability. Eating food that is compatible with them will cause them to "evolve". This isn't without risk since Gourmet Cells burn energy at an alarming rate, forcing those who have them to be Big Eaters. A few people were born with Gourmet Cells instead of having them infused later, such as Midora.
    • Chapter 259 reveals that the Earth itself was infused with Gourmet Cells by a meteorite. The "Human World" is the original Earth and "Gourmet World" is what the Gourmet Cells created.
  • In Wild Fangs, Syon is created in attempt to make more Marked Ones. Besides being created via artificial insemination, he was continually having pieces transplanted onto him leaving huge raw scars where the natural markings would ideally be.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Kenzan's DNA was accidentally spliced with that of a dinosaur sometime in the past when he suffered broken bones at a paleontological dig, and doctors mended them with dinosaur bones at hand. This enables him to somehow access primal, bestial powers when angered or excited, at which point his eyes become reptilian and he can gain a serious Heroic Second Wind. It also renders him impervious to the corrupting power of the Light of Ruin. (Sure, it really doesn't make sense, but little in the show does.)

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • The Infection two-parter from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #83-84 revolves around Batman having to fight two escapees from a governmental science lab who were infected with a genetically tailored virus created during the Cold War that induced this effect to create Super Soldiers. The infectees were given increased strength and durability, built-in guns that fired bullets of sharpened bone, specialized organs that let them cannibalize human corpses to replenish their supply of ammo, and programmed delusions that compelled them to "retake America from the Commies", as well as the ability to produce pustules that would disperse an infectious variant of the virus, allowing a single survivor to infect dozens, or even hundreds, of individuals.
    • In The Attack of the Annihilator, the Big Bad builds a ray gun powered by an alien rock's mutating energies with the purpose of transforming a woman into another psychic mutant like himself.
  • Steve Rogers was transformed from a frail, skinny man to the pinnacle of physical human potential known as Captain America. There have been numerous other attempts to replicate the success with Steve, most of which ended in failure either because of the process, the candidate's psychological make-up or some combination of both.
  • Far Sector: The City has the means to rewrite biology using engineered viruses, called "meatware", that only the @Ats can code.
  • Iron Man foe Ezekiel Stane augmented himself to be a biological version of Iron Man. He can use his own body's energy reserves to fly and generate repulsor blasts, but he needs to consume a very high calorie goo to avoid starving himself to death after using his powers. To use his full powers, Ezekiel also needs to wear a suit designed to vent excess body heat to avoid burning himself up.
  • In Krypton No More, Supergirl tells Superman they are not Kryptonians but mutant humans who got powers through being genetically modified. Subverted, since she lied because she was trying to prevent her cousin from having a break-down. Long story.
  • In The Mighty, Alpha One has been kidnapping humans for years and experimenting on them to give them the same superpowers as him. Most of them turned into monsters.
  • Rogue Trooper centres around the last surviving Genetic Infantryman out to avenge his comrades.
  • EC Comics: In the story "Bats in My Belfry", in Tales from the Crypt, a man who was going deaf received an ear-canal transplant from a bat. The same back-alley surgeon who performed this impossible operation had previously given one of the protagonist's friends an eye-transplant from a panther.
  • In Über, the mysterious "Wotan's Blood" kills and/or horribly mutates most people but can transform others into the superhuman "Ubers". Depending on the potential of the candidates and the follow-up activation procedures, the results can be radically different. The rarest and strongest Ubers are the "Battleships" who can wipe out dozens of lesser Ubers with ease.
  • Ant-Man: The Wasp gets her powers through being genetically modified by Hank Pym.
  • This trope plays a large role in the world of Lazarus:
    • The story takes place after modern society has collapsed and a few corporations/obscenely wealthy individuals have taken control of large areas of the world, turning these areas under their control into their personal fiefdoms. While these groups all have their different strengths and weaknesses, the Carlyle family which controls nearly all of the Western US and Canada is known for using biological expertise to not only enhance themselves with nearly eternal youth, but also to bio-enhance seeds so that enough food can be grown in the inhospitable, possibly irradiated environment. While the Carlyles have a very competent and developed military, it's their bio-enhancing expertise that keeps them from being destroyed by the other families, as the other families all desperately crave the life sustaining secrets of the Carlyles and need the crops the Carlyles can grow.
    • The main character Forever Carlyle has been bio-enhanced to be superhumanly fast, strong, and have a Healing Factor that will let her shrug off anything short of being decapitated or an explosion that reduces her to mincemeat. She also turns out to be a biological experiment specifically created to be the main enforcer and military leader of the Carlyle family.
  • Supplementary material for Invincible states that Viltrumites don't just look human, but are actually biologically human, just augmented to be Long-Lived Flying Bricks whose genes are adaptive to allow reproducing with practically any alien species to create viable hybrids. It's a mystery how apparent they ended up on Viltrum and established their empire, or how they advanced enough in smart atom technology to modify themselves in such a way.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Wonder Woman Blood Lines: Dr. Poison created a physical enhancement chemical that can either grant ordinary humans superpowers (in Giganta's case) or enhance a super's existing abilities (in Cheetah's and Medusa's case) for a short duration.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Bourne Legacy, Outcome agents are retrovirally engineered to enhance their physical and mental abilities.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has a (mostly) realistic version, the most fantastic being Blind Mag's hologram-projecting eyes. Considering that she's essentially the mascot of the company providing all of the new and improved organs, it makes sense that she would receive the most cutting-edge products they have to offer.
  • Star Wars: According to the Rogue One Visual Guide, the Empire's elite Death Troopers undergo classified medical procedures that make them "somewhat above human".

  • Successful bio-augmentation exists in the world of Alterien. In fact, many variations of bio-augmentation go into the creation of super soldiers, while uses go to treating civilians.
  • Ambergris features the Partials, people who have deliberately allowed parts of their bodies to be overtaken by beneficial fungus infections and replaced one of their eyes with a "fungus camera" in order to become Quislings for the Graycaps.
  • In Robert Silverberg's story "At the Conglomeroid Cocktail Party", genetic engineering is such a common and casually regarded thing in the far future that people actually hold "fetus parties" where they invite the guests to come up with the best design for the hosts' future offspring.
  • In Babel-17, exotic, alien-looking "cosmetisurgery" is popular with spacecraft crews. Tails and feathers are common, but variety is the key, and some of the changes are quite disturbing. Those who aren't part of the Transport culture find it very distasteful.
  • This is done with almost terrifying thoroughness by the "Change" syringes in Beggars in Spain. In addition to delivering the Cell Cleaner, which destroys any bearers of non-native DNA (from bacteria to cancer), it modifies the human body to be able to liquefy and absorb certain forms of matter and adds organelles capable of photosynthesis and fixing nitrogen directly from the atmosphere. If mouth food is not available, a Changed person can lie on soil and in sunlight for half an hour and obtain all the energy they need. "You are now autotrophic."
  • Blood Music is a Gone Horribly Wrong example: a scientist creates biological computers from lymphocyte cells, each potentially as smart as a human, and then injects them into himself. They attain self-awareness. Chaos ensues.
  • In the Boojumverse, members of a Transhumanist religious sect called the Christian Cultists have modified their bodies to be capable of working in extreme environments. In "Mongoose", Izrael passes one in a corridor who has replaced her arms with four sucker-tipped tentacles.
  • The Sauron Cyborgs in CoDominium are created through bio-augmentation rather than "chop and replace".
  • Colony has backstreet grafters, who can (illegally) replace existing organs and add extra body parts. A prostitute offers one character a handjob with a hand with a vagina in the palm.
  • In A Confusion of Princes, Princes have a combination of this and Cyborg parts.
  • There is tons of this in Council Wars, as part of the general Magic from Technology nature of the milieu.
  • In Creatures of Light and Darkness, this is common on the human worlds, especially Blis, where we meet a wrestler with four arms, and Megra of Kalgan has such enhanced strength that she can only trust the strongest of men to survive her lovemaking.
  • Crest of the Stars: The Abh were genetically engineered to be humans suited for life in deep space and marked with blue hair. Landers (normal humans) who become Abh (typically through military service or acquiring a noble rank) have their offspring engineered to share these traits. One world experimented with genetic modifications for longevity, but later joined a star nation that severely disapproves of any human modification.
  • At the beginning of Distress, Worth is working on Junk DNA, a documentary about "frankenscience". His first subject is Ned Landers, the human biosphere, whose body has been modified to include algae that can digest anything and breathe any kind of air, allowing him to live off of old tyres if need be. He's also had some of his DNA translated into a new code called neo-DNA, including the cells that give rise to his immune system, allowing him to easily fight off any kind of virus with no symptoms. He and his wife are working on modifying their eggs and sperm so their children will have the same abilities.
  • In Domina, something called the "toy maker" lets people modify their bodies relatively easily. It's described as "like stem cells, but without the moral implications". The products are called "toys", and are split into cosmetic "cosmos" and functional "buffs". It's not limited to humans, either; the fey think it's funny to release augmented animals every once in a while.
  • The Susan Gates novel Dusk is centered on a girl engineered with hawk DNA.
  • Duumvirate has electroplaques, quadbracchalism, combustive gases, and other things as "extras". The new basic humans have regeneration, super-strength, and super-speed.
  • In Ender's Shadow, a rogue scientist alters the DNA of 24 fertilized eggs to create superhumans, with a possible goal of replacing humanity. They're highly intelligent from an impossibly young age; the only downside is that they grow so large their bodies can't take the stress and they die by the age of 20. The experiment's only survivor is Bean, and he does his best to keep his children from inheriting it.
  • In Great Ship, the Remoras are constantly bombarded by interstellar radiation due to them living on the outer hull of the Great Ship, which causes rampant mutations. The Remoras use technology to cultivate the mutations into forms they consider useful or beautiful, such as being able to see further up the visual spectrum by replacing their eyes with photosensitive hairs.
  • This is depicted fairly realistically in Honor Harrington, with such things as the titular character suffering malnutrition when her Hyperactive Metabolism isn't kept fed. The series also features a fight against "genetic slavery".
  • Industrial Society and Its Future: Kaczynski believes that, while this can be used to help people (such as gene therapy curing genetic diseases), it's incredibly dangerous as such techniques might alter people so they serve and obey the system, cementing its oppression.
  • This is used frequently in Land in the Stars:
    • The entire Alchemist's Guild specializes in this to include personally grown clones or even designer bodies ("Doppelgangers") and special-order progeny in the form of the Genespun Faerin subrace.
    • Biological splicing and gene editing were heavily important in the origin of the Arashii species.
    • Gwarish Genesculptors are capable of mutating members of their species into new strains and also create bio-technological ships and mecha.
  • In Monster Blood Tattoo, people use various forms of this; the most disturbing ones augment their senses to the point that they have to wear special helmets to help regulate them so that they don't go insane from sensory overload. Unusually, this series is set not in the future, but in a world resembling a magical version of Napoleonic Europe.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Valentine unknowingly added angel's blood to Clary before she was born. He also added angel's blood to Jace before he was born, through the naivete of his birth mother Celine Herondale.
  • Neogicia focuses on Empire neogicians, who get this as a job perk. The First-Person Perspective protagonist is shown to have gotten the standard Super Strength, Hyper-Awareness, and the much rarer telekinesis.
  • In Neuromancer, Wintermute replaces Case's failing pancreas and liver with bioengineered ones that make him Immune to Drugs. He then spends much of the book looking for something that can get him high.
  • New Jedi Order: Along with rampant xenophobia, a rigid caste system, a hatred of non-Organic Technology, and institutionalized, religious masochism, this is the Yuuzhan Vong's "thing". Chopping off fingers or limbs to replace them with specifically created animal bits is a sign of status; if their bodies then reject the new additions, it's believed to be a sign of displeasure from the gods, and they're instantly cast down to the lowest rung of the lowest caste. The Shapers who perform such procedures are of course infallible and never at fault if a rejection occurs.
  • The Norby Chronicles: The planet Jamyn is where the Others left instructions for genetic experiments. The Mentor robots turned the dominant lifeforms from sub-sentient brutes into a civilization, and First created a brand-new lifeform, which he named the "All-Purpose Pet" due to its Empathic Shapeshifter abilities.
  • "Pure" boys and some girls living in the Dome undergo "coding" (enhancing their speed, strength and intelligence) in Julianna Baggott's sci-fi novel Pure.
  • Quarantine (1992) focuses heavily on neural mods that alter people's thought processes — for instance, Sentinel allows a person to stay focused and alert through long periods of inactivity, and Boss allows a person to play with their circadian rhythm, meaning that they can fall asleep at-will or set aside the effects of fatigue. The protagonist in particular used a mod that dulls emotions to keep the mind clear for rational/tactical thinking (standard issue for police officers) to not be bothered by his wife's death, which is implied to be a semi-common form of abusing mods. More conventionally, the book also mentions that most southern Australians have black skin to combat the destruction of the ozone layer.
  • The Grafters from The Rook are masters of fleshcrafting.
  • Further toward the fantastic end of things, we have the Bred in The Sirantha Jax Series. They're engineered at birth to be better than average humans — faster, stronger, more graceful, more beautiful. They even have at least one superpower — regeneration.
  • In Spin, there is the Fourth Age, extending one's life and allowing to install different abilities on the human.
  • This is the hat of the planet Prometheus in George R. R. Martin's "Thousand Worlds" short stories. Through genetic engineering, the Prometheans are bigger, stronger, faster, and mentally they are always "three steps ahead", to quote a Promethean character from Nightflyers. It's theorized that they live longer than non-augmented humans as well.
  • The scientific space exploration in To Be Taught, If Fortunate is enabled by enzyme patches worn on the astronaut's arm, allowing them to adapt to extreme conditions — e.g., by producing anti-freeze in their blood or absorbing radiation as food. They do need to be worn continuously, as new cells are made continuously. More mundanely, the patches are used widely for medical purposes such as allowing diabetics to produce insulin and producing extra hormones for trans people.
  • The setting of Twig is an Alternate History in which rather than writing Frankenstein, Mary Shelley successfully invented an actual Frankenstein's Monster. As a result, human scientific development focused greatly on Bio Punk, and by the time the book starts in 1921, augmentations are available in several flavors, from using genetic engineering to give yourself new eye colors to infesting yourself with parasites that protect you from other parasites.
  • This trope is the foundation of the Uglies trilogy.
  • The Ultra Violets got their superpowers from accidentally being exposed to Helitropium, a substance capable of genetically altering any living thing on planet Earth.
  • Of a sort in The Vagrant Trilogy. The Uncivil uses "necrotech" to enhance her followers. This consists of dead limbs infused with her essence and grafted onto humans, giving them powers and abilities that have nothing to do with the original function of the limbs.
  • Vatta's War has "humods", modified humans that use combinations of biotech and cyborg tech in a way that they practically stand in for the series' Absent Aliens. A tongue that can check the authenticity of precious gems? Extra-sensitive tentacle hands? Colored skin? You can have all that.
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • The Cetagandans are extremely into genetic engineering on themselves, especially the Haut caste.
    • On Jackson's Whole, there are bodyguards who have enhanced strength and reflexes, at the cost of shorter lifespans. They're also the ones who made Taura the super-soldier, and Baron Ryoval would make you a slave to satisfy any of your depraved desires, for a price.
  • The Witcher has mutations such as faster reflexes, higher regeneration, more durability, higher tolerance to toxins, immunity to diseases and control over the body to an incredible degree (such as controlling the widening or shrinking of the pupil). However, this comes at the price of infertility. Also, most aspiring witchers die due to the horrible side-effect and high mortality rate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: The Vorlons bioengineered various younger races to have telepathy. The Psi-Corps does extensive experimentation to allow telepaths greater abilities. Gill implants exist that allow the recipients to breathe in atmospheres they usually can't.
  • The villainess in the Doctor Who story "The Two Doctors" is an Androgum woman who has been "augmented" to the point where she has reached "mega genius level". However, both the Second and Sixth Doctors have misgivings about this, saying that, regardless of what has been done to her mind, the fact that Androgums are inherently treacherous and self-serving cannot be altered.
  • In Firefly, this appears to be the goal of the Academy, which gives people Psychic Powers, mental conditioning, and combat training to create superhumanly powerful assassins.
  • Heroes has a red formula that gives people a seemingly random ability.
  • In From the Cold: Jenny is the only survivor of the Yaroslav Program, an augmentation that lets her "body-morph" to appear like other people and blend into her surroundings.
  • In Orphan Black, Olivier has had a tail transplanted onto himself, which he seems quite proud of. More generally, the neolutionists are believers in this.
  • Several seasons of Power Rangers made under Disney gave the Rangers various powers by altering their DNA:
  • The Red Dwarf episode "D.N.A." had a DNA modifier which would allow a user to change their genetic structure. When the crew encounter the ship it was on, they find the skeleton of a man with three heads. Kryten accidentally becomes human, Lister becomes a chicken, a hamster and a foot tall "Man-Plus" (essentially Lister crossed with RoboCop) and a mutton vindaloo becomes a mutant vindaloo-based creature that can only be killed with the application of lager.
  • A regular character in SeaQuest DSV had himself implanted with gills to allow him to breathe underwater. Apparently, he is also able to survive at great depths.
    • Also, there is a race of GELFs (Genetically-Engineered Life Forms), bred to be Super Soldiers. They eventually force UEO to recognize them as equals. They can breathe in rarefied atmosphere.
  • The Star Trek universe does not indulge in this to a great deal but it's reasonable to believe they have the technology for it, given that when someone needs to pass as, say, Romulan or Cardassian (or Cardassian posing as a human in one case), they can drop into sick bay for some Magic Plastic Surgery and genuine pointy ears.
    • The Federation banned it due to having the genetic engineering equivalent to a Robot War. Earth's early attempts created A Villain Named Khan and his supermen, superior in mind and body but too aggressive. Having been engineered to be superior to ordinary humans, they felt that they should rule the ordinary humans. They ended up starting the Eugenics Wars before being defeated and exiled as Human Popsicles. This causes a major problem for Dr. Bashir when he gets found out. Genetically enhanced humans were eventually dubbed "Augments". Star Trek: Enterprise mentions that this ban was inherited from the United Earth before founding the Federation, but it's never discussed if a society that regularly used genetic engineering could join the Federation.
    • Upon learning of these Augments and gaining samples of their DNA, the Klingons decided to give it a go. It backfired spectacularly, with those affected losing their Klingon appearance and strength and many of them dying of complications caused by the genetic chaos.
    • Bashir would later be charged with the care of a quartet of... slightly off Augments in "Statistical Improbabilities". The four are able to postulate how the Dominion War will end... and then try and facilitate the Federation's surrender to prevent the needless waste of life.
    • Despite the ban, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Unnatural Selection" has the Federation allow a research station to develop an "ideal" human species. With long lifespans, improved intelligence, youthful appearance, telepathy, and an advanced immune system, they're the scientists' every dream... almost.
    • On the other hand, the Dominion, the Federation's Evil Counterpart, is a huge genetic engineering society. Jem'Hadar were created from nothingnote , Vorta bred from some other form; and it's stated that the Founders were once humanoids but genetically engineered themselves into shape-shifters. It is even supposed that their close-mindedness is the price they paid for their new body abilities.
    • The Suliban on Star Trek: Enterprise obey a mysterious figure from the future, known to fans only as "Future Guy" since his identity is never revealed, in exchange for genetic upgrades.
    • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds shows that the Federation not only refuses any genetic augmentation of its citizens, but it also refuses to accept any new members who have been genetically enhanced. The Illyrians are one such species. There's even a Starfleet regulation that prohibits mixing human and Illyrian blood. A group of them were so desperate to join they tried to reverse their genetic augmentations. It also turns out that Number One is secretly Illyrian, and both M'Benga and Chapel are more than willing to use her blood to synthesize a cure if it can save the crew, regardless of the regs.
  • In Supernatural, the Special Children gain psychic powers after they were fed demon blood as an infant.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Quarantine", the survivors of the nuclear war of 2043 began using genetic engineering to give themselves psychic powers as they no longer trusted technology. By 2347, all life on Earth exists in harmony as part of a biological gestalt. Their computers are a form of Organic Technology created by genetically engineering chimpanzees and orangutans through increasing their intelligence by a factor of 20. Each augmented ape performs a specific function. All available knowledge is stored in their brains and accessible to anyone who requires it. Telepathic humans make contact with the apes at an early age and give them the choice of either living a normal life or becoming part of the collective computer brain.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A big part of Blue Planet, most of the original colonists of Poseidon were surgically and genetically modified to have increased oxygen retention when diving underwater, or gills. And a major impetus for the second wave of colonization is the discovery of a mineral called "Longjohn" that makes genetic modification easier.
  • Cyberpunk:
    • Cyberpunk 2020 has biotech, which are enhancements based around biology rather than technology, often using nanomachines, which has the handy benefit of minimizing humanity loss.
      • This is taken further in the Eurosource sourcebooks, as Europeans disprove of cybernetics, so cyberware is either well-hidden or replaced with biotech and also genetic engineering, which isn't readily available outside Europe.
    • Cyberpunk 203X includes a sea-faring tribe that uses genetic manipulation instead of cybernetics.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has the "Graft Flesh" feat and several variations that allow the altering of a creature's biology.
    • In the Dark Sun setting supplement The Windriders of the Jagged Cliffs, players are introduced to living "life shaped" items that could be implanted in living beings.
    • In a far more minimalistic fashion, the Forgotten Realms supplement Champions of Valor has a kind of (living) magical coral which is implanted into the hand (it's a small piece of living coral, pretty much just a shard). It is of no help during combat (it provides faster healing, but it's faster on the scale of a day, not minutes), but provides a couple of other helpful benefits, among them identification (the coral glows when near another implanted coral, and it's mostly used by a single organization).
  • In Eclipse Phase, changing bodies is done so often that a body is referred to as a 'sleeve'; all it takes is for someone to extract your "Cortical Stack" (which makes a backup of your mind once per second) and plug it into a new sleeve. Most biological sleeves, aside from non-engineered humans (called Flats) are immune to aging, immune to all natural diseases including cancer, and can even regenerate lost limbs over time.
  • GURPS:
    • Approximately half of Biotech is devoted to this.
    • Transhuman Space: Implanted bioengineered organs ranging from straight-up replacements to lungs that allow you to breathe Mars' atmosphere, and Proteus nanoviruses that can rewrite DNA in living cells ("soft" changes only though).
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Take Bio-Augmentation, add a generous dose of Cyborg and Body Horror, and you've got Phyrexia and a couple of spare livers.
    • The Simic Combine has this as one of their premier products, allowing customers to add various augmentations with Cytoplasts (such as give a normal-sized human a giant's strength). Unfortunately, Momir Vig had ulterior motives for these...
  • In the New World of Darkness:
  • The Splurgoth in Rifts market Bio-Borgs — organisms equipped with bio-tech transplants — as slaves, and have been willing to sell and install the transplants themselves in paying customers.
  • Shadowrun has bioware (biological implants that enhance the recipient's abilities) as well as genetic augmentations. They aren't nearly as cool as and more expensive than cybernetic implants, but they do cost less essence.
    • The one that shows up all over the place, especially in the novels, is the Supra-Thyroid Gland. Better, stronger, faster... all in one easy operation. The side effect is fun, too.
  • This is a common trope in the Star*Drive setting, especially for Thuldan characters.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Space Marine recruits go through an extensive and extremely taxing series of implantations of extra organs that cause massive physiological changes. These organs have their own genetic lineage, that can be traced back to each legion's primarch.note  The process is detailed here.
    • The Thunder Warriors, the Space Marines' predecessors, were augmented using a far less refined process with the details unknown. The Thunder Warriors were even stronger than the Space Marines and Custodes but were also physically and psychologically unstable and had shortened lifespans, making them unsuitable for the Emperor's long-term goals of galactic conquest.
    • The Custodes were augmented using a refined version of the same process that created the Thunder Warriors. While less powerful than the Thunder Warriors, the Custodes are still stronger than the Space Marines and have similarly extended lifespans, making them the most powerful warriors in the Imperium. The few known details revealed about the procedure show that it's even more extreme and difficult than the process used to create a Space Marine. As a result, each Custodes is a costly investment to the Imperium.
    • The Primaris Marines introduced in Eighth Edition were created to aid the Imperium in its darkest hour. The Space Marine creation process was modified by Archmagos Cawl to include parts of the Custodes' creation process. The Primaris Marines have three additional gene-seed organs: metal coils that enhance their strength and endurance, half of the same "God-maker" organ that was used to create the Primarchs, and another organ that pumps them full of stimulants when they are near death. They are also overall bigger, stronger, and faster than baseline Space Marines.
    • "Rubicon Primaris" is the procedure that was eventually developed to upgrade an Astartes into a Primaris. Marneus Calgar was the first to volunteer for the procedure since he wanted to help bridge the cultural gap between the new Primaris Marines and the older Astartes. While the procedure was successful, it was extremely agonizing and risky — Cawl estimated it would have a 66% success and survival rate at best. Calgar did in fact die on the operating table, but fortunately his new Belisarius Furnace pumped his hearts full of stimulants and resuscitated him.
    • The Horus Heresy novels have implied that there's more at work in the augmentation process than "just" super science. It's been hinted that a bit of the Emperor's own psychic power is passed on through the gene-seed, and without it the augmentation would always fail. This is why Blanks, humans who negate psychic power, cannot be made into Astartes.
  • The Skaven supplement Children of the Horned Rat for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has several sections on body augmentation — either technological, using bionics or powered frames built by Clan Skryre and done willingly, or actually warping flesh (usually that of prisoners) and melding creatures with weapons or mechanisms to produce horrific shock troops as practiced by Clan Moulder. Moulder members also tend to "improve" themselves as well, with extra limbs or massively altered metabolisms, with roughly the same results.
    • For a period, there was a Skaven-specific Gaiden Game of Rat Ogre Pitfighting on the Games Workshop website, dedicated to the deranged craft of Clan Moulder. The entire point of the game was to do this kind of stuff to your "pets" and hurl them against the other players.

    • The Great Beings do this to many of their experiments, including giving the Vorox and Zesk tails.
    • The Order of Mata Nui has been known to do this as well; for example, they are known to have experimented on Ehlek's race, but just what they did to them is unknown.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock: The ruined city of Rapture provides an example of bio-augmentation Gone Horribly Wrong in the form of ADAM, a miracle substance whose discovery paved the way for the development of serums providing quick and easy gene modifications. Advertised and treated in the same mundane manner as laundry detergent or brand new flavors of soda, these serums could rewrite DNA to grant anything from simple physical modifications — such as increased muscle mass or hardened skin — to outright superpowers — which includes the ability to cast lightning, summon flames, and shoot freaking bees from your hands, among others — at the cost of insatiable addiction, mental damage, and Body Horror, the abuse of which resulting in the crazed Splicers fought throughout the game.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth: The Purity affinity is nominally anti-transhuman, but still partake in some basic genetic modification to improve lifespan and resistance to disease. However, the Harmony affinity takes genetic modding into transhuman territory, incorporating alien DNA into their own and allowing them to empathize better with alien lifeforms and breathe otherwise deadly Miasma. High-tier Harmony foot-soldiers are basically human-alien hybrids.
    • The first expansion adds hybrid affinities, unit upgrades and unique units that mix traits from two affinities. The hybrids for Purity and Harmony really emphasize these aspects, using lessons learned from the alien organisms to "improve" humanity. Unlike Purity who wants to keep humans "as they are" (i.e., not using extensive gene manipulation or cybernetics), Harmony-Purity wants to make humans "as they could be": stronger, smarter, faster, to become like gods. Their soldier units look so much like gilded statues with guns that you'd have to be told that they're human.
  • Deus Ex has the protagonist, his brother and the two main antagonists equipped with "nano-augmentations". In the sequel, this technology is much more widespread.
    • In the prequel, the vast majority of augmentation are still of the mechanical sort, as nanomachine-based augmentation isn't even being tested yet.
      That said, a sidequest does reveal that bio-augmentation tests performed on infants (presumably not using nanomachines) was the reason that Adam's body can accept augmentation without the use of any drugs, and the ending implies that what was recovered of this technology from Adam's body was used to create the Denton brothers.
  • Elden Ring has a few fantasy variants.
    • To make up for being the smallest and weakest of the surviving demigods, Godrick the Grafted gets his men to hunt down and chop up strong warriors so he can graft their body parts to himself and increase his power. By the time he's fought, he's a horrifying amalgamation of stolen limbs carelessly slapped and wrapped together, only barely remaining humanoid — and he's still considered the weakest demigod. In the second phase of his boss fight, he ups the ante by chopping off his left hand and replacing it with a dragon head, gaining him a biological Arm Cannon.
    • The Grafted Scions are (his?) children who Godrick's done the same thing to, only they haven't remained humanoid. With all their extra limbs they look kind of like spiders now.
    • Practitioners of Dragon Communion hunt down dragons in order to eat their hearts to try and become dragons themselves. This gives them the ability to shapeshift parts of their body into a dragon's to do things like breathe fire and crush their enemies under a gigantic claw. However, their mutations inevitably collapse, turning them into wingless Magma Wyrms with only a faint resemblance to the dragons they emulate.
  • EVE Online:
    • The mysterious Jove race became masters of gene manipulation and other bioengineering, transforming themselves into emotionless quasi-superhumans. It's since bitten them in the rear, as they suffer from a degenerative disease that threatens to wipe them out.
    • The Blood Raider Covenant runs an ample research of improvement of the human body through transfusions of modified blood that, among other examples, grants its citizens reduced aging, improved inmunological system and enhanced physical fitness, making their troops rival even Sansha's Nation True Slaves in combat effectiveness. Combined with a populace-wide public blood transfusion system (which has its basis on their ritual of "Blooding", main axis of their cult, the Sani Sabik), the Covenant's citizens enjoy a far healthier life than those of even the main Empires. Unfortunately for outsiders, that means they might get their ship captured and themselves dragged to "Blood Farms" for having their blood used for the rituals, research, or even nourishment of the Blood Raiders.
  • In the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, various kinds of Super Soldiers are created via bioengineering and ruthless human experimentation.
    • The most extreme case is Sephiroth, who is technically human, but with truly bizarre DNA since he was altered in the womb with Jenova cells and infused with mako energy.
    • Genesis and Angeal from Crisis Core were products of Project G (a less successful Shinra research project that competed with Project S which produced Sephiroth) which also involved the use of Jenova cells and mako in developing fetuses.
    • SOLDIERs such as Zack Fair and experimental subjects such as Cloud Strife are the result of modifying humans with both Jenova cells and Mako.
    • Vincent Valentine was originally human, but was modified by both Hojo and Lucrecia Crescent into a deadly shapeshifter.
    • Also from Dirge of Cerberus, the Deepground soldiers and Tsviets were results of various bioweapon experiments.
  • The Final Fantasy franchise actually first utilized this trope in Final Fantasy VI, where The Empire bio-engineered Kefka and Celes to be magic-wielding Super Soldiers by implanting the genes of magical Espers. The process turned Kefka into a Psycho Prototype Monster Clown, but it was refined in time to give Celes magic without any downsides (though a cut plot point from the game would've made Celes unstable as well). Then she proved just as problematic as Kefka, but for different reasons.
  • This happens quite a lot in Geneforge, as skill canisters manufactured by the titular Geneforge can enhance the abilities of anyone who absorbs their contents by re-writing their genetic structure. However, With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Halo:
    • The Spartan-II Super Soldiers, at 14, underwent a laundry list of enhancements that made them physically and mentally superior to all other humans — those that survived the process, that is. Even so, damage remains in that overall they lack interest in sex and romantic relationships.
    • The list of enhancements to Spartan-IIIs is even longer, especially Gamma Company after their instructor, a Spartan-II, got tired of watching his students from previous companies get slaughtered in suicide missions and decided to add a few illegal enhancements to make them highly resistant to pain.
    • The Spartan-IVs have somewhat less extensive augmentations, due to being modified as adults, but they can still do things like breathe methane for an hour.
    • The Forerunners had this as standard for everyone, with them receiving new mutations as they advanced in age and rank. The best mutations went to the Prometheans, the most elite of the Forerunner Warrior-Servants.
  • In I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, each child receives one augmentation thanks to genetech, ranging from incredible eyesight to perpetually flexible brain neurons to just being really, really calm. They see their first signs of it at six.
  • Genetic enhancement is fairly commonplace in Mass Effect, but is strictly regulated by Council law. Enhancing existing abilities is legal; adding new ones is illegal. Alliance soldiers routinely undergo genetic enhancement upon entering the military, and almost all children are screened before or just after birth and provided treatments to fix genetic defects. In addition, there now exist "designer babies", children of the wealthy that were engineered from the ground up to be better than normal humans. In some places they're the equal of any other human, in others they're regarded as little more than property.
  • The Genome Soldiers of Metal Gear Solid are enhanced by gene therapy with the genes of Big Boss to have augmented senses and reflexes.
    • The entire game is a deconstruction of gene therapy (among other things). The end of the game includes a character noting that having the genes necessary to succeed means nothing if you don't have the mentality. And Snake himself is supposed to be a living example: despite receiving "all the recessive genes" and being an inferior clone of Big Boss, he is perhaps the greatest soldier in the world.
  • In Metroid, Samus was augmented with Chozo DNA as a kid to help her survive on their planet after the race adopted her, which also makes her uniquely capable of utilizing their technology. Later on, she's also transfused with Metroid DNA to save her life after being infected by the X Parasites. Metroid Dread expands on this, revealing that Samus was augmented with the DNA of two different tribes of Chozo: the peaceful and scientific-minded Tholha and the Proud Warrior Race Guy Mawkin. The Big Bad of the game Raven Beak, the former leader and Sole Survivor of the Mawkin, is revealed to have been the Chozo who donated the Mawkin genes to her.
  • The second core of progression in The Persistence (besides armor) is gene-editing so you and all future clones you possess are better at the fundamentals of the game. Your stealth, melee damage, and dark matter abilities are all improved by using this gene-editing.
  • Pokémon:
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown:
    • In the expansion pack called Enemy Within, you have the option to upgrade your troops with gene mods to increase their combat potential. The modifications include, among others, increased muscle density, which allows them to jump to rooftops, a secondary heart, which prevents them from dying instantly to otherwise fatal hits, and mimetic skin, which lets them blend with the environment. The more grotesque side of the trope is seen in the EXALT Elite Operatives; it's implied that their augmentations were completely unrestrained, unlike XCOM's, and are proportionally more powerful — however, they're inhumanly pale and you can visibly see that something's very wrong with them. Their gene-mods in the game data reflect this; XCOM gene mods may be powerful, but EXALT gene mods are arguably moreso. XCOM's gene mods are completely "clean" by comparison.
    • A New Game Plus option gives gene mods the negative side-effect of being unable to develop psionic powers. The Game Mod "The Long War" also has this option, but even when disabled, always gives this side-effect to the gene mod "neural damping" that protects a soldier from enemy psionics (so in short, in LW it's an anti-psionics gene mod).

  • Always Human has this as a core part of the setting. "Mods" are easy to install or replace and are ubiquitous in daily life: they include fashion options, memory enhancements, health boosters, and work-specific augmentations. Some are as simple as shopping for a new eye color or cat ears, while others are as intensive as full-body modifications to withstand long space journeys. One of the main characters has a condition that prevents her from using most mods, which is what kicks off the plot.
  • Among the Chosen has quite a few heavily modified characters, but the technology tends to be so advanced as to blur the line between this and Cyborgs.
  • In Drowtales, this is what the all-female Jaal'darya clan is (in)famous for. Well, this and Organic Technology.
  • The K-Series soldiers in Elf Blood were designed before birth to have bodies ultra-compatible with Magitek implants. They were quite successful.
  • In Jet Dream, Virus-X gives T-Girls enhanced strength, agility, and endurance in addition to its most obvious effect.
  • Many characters in Schlock Mercenary get various strength and resiliency boosts, due to their occupations as soldiers or mercenaries. More than a few characters end up getting full-body makeovers (turning a very runtish character into The Big Guy, for example). Later on, some characters learn too late that this process can turn them into unwitting bioweapons.
  • Spacetrawler: Yuri gets part of an Eeb brain implanted into her own, in order to gain greater technological understanding and limited telekinesis. And she gets cat ears, because she wants to be a Cat Girl.

    Web Original 
  • This is the point of Pelvanida Base in Darwin's Soldiers.
  • In Dingo Doodles, the Foreclaimers are a race obsessed with perfecting their mortal form. Through centuries of brutal experiments and capturing the power of the second sun, they developed a method for combining magitek cybernetics and bio-augments suited their individual occupations. Gothi, a member of the race, chose a set of gills to allow waterbreathing.
  • In New Vindicators, this pops up with the Primes, man-made Neo-Sapiens (or super powered mutants), with powers of their genetic donors (though not always willing). In one case, cunning terrorists buy samples of this Prime technology and have it used by their duplicating leader to impregnate several women-leading to supers not only with doctored in superpowers, but the man's own duplicating power as well.
  • In Noob, this is the advantage given to Empire neogicians compared to those from other factions according to the webseries and novels. The one from the main guild is known to have gotten Super Speed, while the advantage gained by the other ones are currently unknown.
  • This is a relatively trivial operation for the Sephirotic Empires in Orion's Arm. Life forms who have altered their bodies without the addition of machine parts are known as "bioborgs" in the series parlance.
  • The Coalition soldiers (Ourkind) and several of the protagonists are this in Unlikely Eden.
  • Planet Shield from Phaeton do this all of the time, though its mostly done with mindless clones who they then control with remote stations.
  • Shadowhunter Peril: This happened to the Architect in 1943 at the hands of Nazis, but the actual events of this time period take place on a different storyline called Upworld, Downworld. He was part of a highly unstable project by Nazi Germany to create a Super Soldier race of Nazis. Because of the danger this would theoretically pose to human lives, they used prisoners in the concentration camps. They infused demonic steroids within his body, which result augmented his muscular strength and turned his bones into a kind of living metal. Naturally, after discovering his new abilities, he killed the people who slaughtered his family and then escaped.
  • This is common in Void of the Stars. Nearly every species practices it in some way, aside from the humans — it's illegal to genetically modify one of them.
  • Taerel Setting: The kin'toni are superhuman vampiric sophonts made by lab stuff gone wrong — their powers and adaptions are mutations of the body.
  • Whateley Universe: This is how Delta Spike went from a nerdy teen inventor to a super-strong energy blaster with the Most Common Superpower. She was experimented on by the dreaded Dr. Pygmalion. The doc's other experiments have all that as well as being his mindslaves.
  • Worm:

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: The episode "Critters" gives us augmented farm critters and pests, including Big Creepy-Crawlies preprogrammed to 'die' after a particular length of time. Originally microbiologist Farmer Brown was only out to augment cattle and other farm animals to provide more and better food; a PR event gone awry resulted in a court ordernote  preventing him from experimenting in Gotham. Thus, Brown and daughter move to extortion by threat of bio-augmented monster animals.
  • Batman Beyond: Genetic splicing and other kinds of augmentation are a running theme on the show.
  • Parodied in a scene from the episode "Abducted" of Invader Zim. The aliens believe that by duct-taping a gopher to Zim's head, they are fusing him and possibly making him more powerful.
  • Alpha, a recurring villain in Men in Black: The Series, collects alien body parts which he sticks onto himself using an illegal device called a Cosmic Integrator which both melds the new parts onto his body and prevents said body from rejecting them.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Kraven the Hunter is created by Sergei Kravinoff having himself injected with an "electrolized" DNA formula of various jungle cats, turning himself from a Badass Normal to a formidable feline supervillain.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Kingpin turns to this for his living weapons after a few too many failures by Smythe's robots. They are made by Herbert Landon, who is introduced accidentally turning himself into an electricity-eating, city-wrecking Kaiju. (He mostly gets better but spends the rest of series Two-Faced.) When Smythe turns against the Kingpin, Landon captures him and has him upgraded into his Ultimate Slayer form.
  • Transformers: Animated: This is the goal of Prometheus Black, who wants to prove that people can measure up to Professor Sumdac's robots. Unfortunately, his investors bail out after a PR stunt turns into a disaster. One rage-induced Freak Lab Accident later, he's a supervillain with a grudge against both the Autobots and the Sumdac family.
  • In Young Justice - Revival Series, Karen 'Bumblebee' Beecher had, as part of her university thesis, researched how to artificially edit human DNA to enhance the subjects' physiology, originally with the intent to launch scientific debate into the ethics of doing so. However, when faced with nearly losing her newly born daughter to a medical condition, she made the decision to apply her research to the baby's DNA from within.
    Karen: [flashback to her announcement of the findings of her research] For this dissertation, I isolated samples of my own blood and tissue to introduce new genetic material into a genome. I successfully integrated new genes into my sample's DNA that would have enhanced everything from muscular strength to mental acuity, thus proving that, from cures for disease to enhancement of nature, the power of evolution is now in our hands. I submit my experiments not as an argument for or against such procedures, but to help spark an important ethical debate about how to utilise this science to do the right thing; a debate we must settle now, before nature or other forces in our fast-changing world settle it for us, and our children.

Alternative Title(s): Bio Augmented