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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 Sci-Fi 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 Creature 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.
  • 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. The end result are two 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 Legaue 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 ChronosCorporation 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 rapid-grown to adulthood within a few years. And 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. Sadly 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.
  • Tsukune and Hokuto from Rosario + Vampire are humans who have been infused with the blood of monsters, and have gained some of their powers — and 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.
  • In 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 
  • The two-parter Batman story Infection 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, specialised organs that let them cannibalise 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.
  • 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 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 Had been kidnapping humans for years and experimented on them to give them the same super powers as him. Most of them turned into monsters.
  • Rogue Trooper centres around the last surviving Genetic Infantryman out to avenge his comrades.
  • 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.
  • The Wasp got 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.
    • 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.

    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.
    • And considering how 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".

  • It's amazing how many fantasy stories let the protagonist to absorb his opponent's abilities simply by drinking their blood.
  • Successful bio-augmentation exists in the world of the Alterien series. In fact, many variations of bio-augmentation is what goes into the creation of super soldiers. Other uses go to treating civilians as well.
  • Jeff VanderMeer's 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.
  • 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."
  • The novel Blood Music, winner of a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, is a Gone Horribly Wrong example: a scientist creates biological computers, each potentially as smart as a human from lymphocyte cells 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.
  • Rob Grant's 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.
  • Tons of it in the Council Wars series, as part of the general Magic from Technology nature of the milieu.
  • In Roger Zelazny's 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.
  • The Abh of Crest of the Stars 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.
  • In the web-novel 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, which 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 Orson Scott Card's Ender's Shadow series, 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.
  • The setting of Twig is an Alternate History where instead of 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.
  • In Robert Reed's Great Ship universe, 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.
  • Used in the Honor Harrington series. The depiction is fairly realistic, 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".
  • Land in the Stars Used frequently:
    • The entire Alchemists 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 the Monster Blood Tattoo series, people do various forms of this; the most disturbing ones augment their senses to the point they have to wear special helmets to help direct things so 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, a Spin-Off novel of Noob 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 much more rare 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.
  • Along with rampant xenophobia, a rigid caste system, a hatred of nonorganic technology, and institutionalized, religious masochism, this is the Yuuzhan Vongs' "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 leads to a major drop in status.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's 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 Shapeshifting 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.
  • Greg Egan's Quarantine 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 Vatta's War series 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.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's ''Vorkosigan Saga' books:
    • The Cetagandans are extremely into genetic engineering on themselves. Especially the Haut caste.
    • On Jackson's Whole we see body guards 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 Grafters from Daniel O'Malley's The Rook books are masters of fleshcrafting.
  • The Sauron Cyborgs in Jerry Pournelle's future history cycle are created through bio augmentation rather than chop and replace.
  • 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, 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.
  • This trope is the foundation of Scott Westerfeld's 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.
  • The Vagrant Trilogy: Of a sort. 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.
  • 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 a 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: 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 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 Stock Superpowers by altering their DNA:
  • The Red Dwarf episode DNA 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 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 supersoldiers. 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 easy 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". Enterprise mentioned 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." Nicknamed the "Jack Pack" after their nominal leader, 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, one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation episode had 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 were the scientist's 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 obeyed a mysterious figure from the future, known to fans only as "Future Guy" since his identity was never revealed, in exchange for genetic upgrades.
  • 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 
  • 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 Up to Eleven 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 203 X 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).
  • Eclipse Phase again. In this RPG, 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.
  • 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 lighning, 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. It is the Harmony affinity, however, who take genetic modding into transhuman territory, incorporating alien DNA into their own and allowing them to empathise 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 emphasise 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 Adam's body can accept augmentation without the use of any drugs, and the ending implies what was recovered of this technology from Adam's body was used to create the Denton brothers.
  • 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 degenerate 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 more healthy 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 supersoldiers, 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.
  • 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.
    • Mass Effect 2 squadmate Miranda Lawson is one of these "designer babies", and shows why it's not such a good idea. You can also pick up a "krogan retrovirus" upgrade, which alters the genetic code in squadmate Grunt to increase his health.
  • 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 first game in the Solid series 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-virus.
  • Pokémon has the Legendary Pokémon Mewtwo, who as an embryo was genetically engineered by a lone scientist to be the ultimate fighting machine. He succeeded.
  • 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+ 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).

    Web Comics 
  • In Always Human, "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 colour or cat ears, while others are as intensive as full-body modifications to withstand long space journeys.
  • 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 resiliancy 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 bio weapons.
  • 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 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 super powers, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Supersoldier 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. The 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.
  • 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.
  • Whateley Universe: It's 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, plus they are his mindslaves.
  • Panacea of Worm has this as a superpower. She can exert complete control over the physiology of any living thing she touches. She mostly uses it to heal people, but the possible applications are pretty much endless.
    • Bonesaw is a tinker who specializes in the biological, and it's expressed mainly through this trope, both on herself and her victims.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series has Manbat. Unfortunately, With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Batman Beyond: Genetic splicing and other kinds of augmentation were a running theme on the show.
    • An episode of deals with Terry fighting a group of teenagers who were spliced with animal DNA to take on certain animal traits. Other splicers are seen throughout the series.
    • A crossover episode with Static Shock also featured the "Splicers," however they seemed to be only using lizard DNA in that episode.
    • The Kobra cult tried to use dinosaur DNA to create a new race of reptile-people and take over the Earth.
    • An Ace the Bat-hound centered episode involved a dogfighting ring full of biologically-altered dog-monsters.
  • 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 on the Men in Black: The Series cartoon, collected alien body parts which he stuck onto himself using an illegal device called a Cosmic Integrator which both melded the new parts onto his body and prevented said body from rejecting them.
  • The New Batman Adventures episode Critters gives us augmented farm critters and pests, including giant bugs 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. So Brown & daughter move to extortion by threat of bio-augmented monster animals.
  • 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, 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 was introduced accidentally turning himself into an electricity-eating, city-wrecking Kaiju. (Mostly got better, but spent rest of series looking like Two-Face.) When Smythe turns against Kingpin, Landon captures him and has him upgraded into his Ultimate Slayer form.
  • Transformers Animated: This was the goal of Prometheus Black, who wanted to prove that people could measure up to Professor Sumdac's robots. Unfortunately, his investors bailed out after a PR stunt turned 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.

Alternative Title(s): Bio Augmented


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