Lady Jessica Atreides: You don't know everything. For thousands of years, we've been carefully crossing bloodlines to bring forth...
Paul Atreides: The One?
Lady Jessica Atreides: A mind - powerful enough to bridge space and time, past and future - who can help us into a better future. We think he's very close now. Some believe he is here.
This type of Cult takes one of two forms:
- Controlling the world's marriages/relationships/pregnancies to create a new generation, closer to fulfilling The Prophecy of theirs or The Plan.
- Where the members of the cult are itself the result of the Breeding Program, secretly choosing their partners in line with the aims and desires of the Cult.
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Anime and Manga
- This turns out to be the secret behind the Washuu clan in Tokyo Ghoul. They've been engaging in slavery and incest to produce both breeding slaves and Child Soldiers to serve them. Clan patriarch Tsuneyoshi has numerous bastard children, including not only Big Bad Nimura Furuta, but Kishou Arima and Rize Kamishiro; Rize herself was raised for the purpose of bearing children to Tsuneyoshi and his legitimate heirs.
- In TerraforMARS, the Newton clan is revealed to be this. They have used selective breeding with humans for 600 years, with the objective of surpassing mankind. Joseph Newton is a product of this activity.
- In Planetary, Axel Brass is the last child from a breeding program started by an eclectic group of intellectuals in post-Revolutionary France, gathered together with the goal of creating a perfect human.
- Cable once fought a cult of psychic women whose leader claimed to have been arranging events to lead to the birth of Jean Grey. However, she was in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown at the time and Cable expressed skepticism of it.
- It turns out that Mister Sinister knew Grigori Rasputin, who was himself a mutant. His following of concubines was an attempt to breed more mutants, and on his deathbed, he distributed his spirit into their unborn children. Those pieces would be further divided and passed on to those children's children, but at the same time drive them all to instability and eventual suicide to coalesce in the dwindling bloodline until he eventually reincarnates into his last living descendant. Most unfortunately, Colossus' last name is not just a coincidence.
- The 2019 run of X-Men adds this element to the titular team. In their new, isolated and heavily cult-like society of Krakoa, polyamory and free-love are encouraged, and one of the rules is to "Make more mutants" to bolster their ranks. The problems of this are almost immediately encountered by Nightcrawler, who made the proclamation with all the best intentions in the world and then had an encounter with Stacy-X, who was handing out contraception and who tore a strip off him for not considering the consequences, e.g., STDs and an entire generation of children with parents who aren't especially interested in raising them (she's setting up an orphanage). She's not the only one who criticizes it, either, with one mutant ending up in the Hole for pointing out that creating and abandoning an entire generation of superhumans is a fantastic way to cause social upheaval in the future. As a result, it's modified to focus on the resurrection of those killed in the mutant genocides and to explicitly not coerce or encourage breeding for the sake of breeding.
- The fanatical Judda from Judge Dredd, a cult centered around a former High Judge named Morton Judd, who wanted to use genetic engineering and cloning to pacify the population of Mega-City One. After his coup failed, he and his followers escaped into the Australian outback along with a batch of genetic material from the Judge clone banks. They eventually resurfaced during the "Oz" story arc, having spent the past 30 years breeding an army of Judda to conquer Mega-City One. Nearly all of them are wiped out when Dredd teleports a nuclear device into their hideout in Ayers Rock, except for three survivors: Judge Kraken from the "Necropolis" arc and Jonah and Pandora from the "Jihad" audio drama.
- In Child of the Storm and its sequel, the Clan Askani (though Xavier explicitly calls them a cult) are presented as a mostly harmless — if somewhat strange and Super Supremacist (specifically psychic-supremacist) — variation on this, with a history going back millennia. They're pretty much all psychics, and maintain a carefully curated Super Breeding Program, which originally filtered out the squib equivalents. However, no one actually knows why they're doing it, possibly not even the Askani — or at least if they do, they haven't told anybody. Even the vague mention of a Chosen One, the Askani'son, is only as an afterthought.
- Then, in the sequel, in a grand case of Irony, it turns out that one of the families that they filtered out ended up producing Jean, Maddie, and Harry: the three most powerful psychics ever born. This, better understanding of genetics, and the appearances of other enormously powerful first-generation mutants (e.g., Magneto and Xavier himself, who they briefly thought might be the Askani'son) have apparently led to the Clan not filtering out the squib equivalents anymore — though as Xavier coldly points out, that's out of pragmatism, not morality.
- In The Flash Sentry Chronicles, the Cult of Shadows spent centuries trying to conceive a child at a specific date, the date that the Corrupted Shadow was killed, so that they would serve as its new vessel. Shadow Corrupter, formerly known as Gleaming Path, was born on that date, and when he turned thirteen years old, they performed a sacrificial ritual on him so that he would be the Corrupted Shadow’s vessel.
- In Dune, the Bene Gesserit have worked for 90 generations to create The Chosen One, the 'Kwisatz Haderach'. They got within two generations of succeeding — Jessica, who married Leto Atreides, was supposed to bear a daughter, who would have married Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, producing the Kwisatz Haderach. However, she instead bore a son, Paul, who was the Kwisatz Haderach himself. Paul's son, Leto II, takes over their program when he ascends to the throne. By the time of God-Emperor of Dune, he has made some success: he's bred an individual who cannot be seen with prescience. He plans for her to kill him and pass on her genes as humanity spreads out of its forced confinement so humanity will never be subject to a tyrant like him again.
- The Howard Families are a fictional group created by Robert A. Heinlein, featuring heavily in books such as Methuselah's Children and Time Enough for Love. The Howard Foundation was started in the 19th century by Ira Howard, a millionaire dying of old age in his forties, for the purpose of extending human lifespans.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, especially Cetaganda and Diplomatic Immunity, version I is the raison d'etre for the Star Creche and drives the main plots.
- Patternist: The creepy immortal body-snatcher Doro of Wild Seed establishes one of these, with "seed villages" all over the world. Someone who's six thousand years old and automatically possesses the body of the nearest person whenever he dies really doesn't view the rest of humanity as much more than his toy.
- The Laundry Files: In The Apocalypse Codex, a vicious cult camouflaged as a televangelist church uses a breeding program to create the next generation of true believers. The way they do it deserves notice: they kidnap young women, inflict spinal cord injuries to permanently paralyze them, and use artificial insemination to repeatedly use their bodies as unwilling host mothers.
- In Flight of the Godkin Griffin, the Godkindred Kingdom's state religion is that by mingling species their descendants can become gods, and they conquer neighboring countries in pursuit of new bloodlines. In contrast, the Mountain Pards believe that by inbreeding they can achieve purity by inbreeding themselves into a bestial state, which involves having their psychotic male young rape their females repeatedly. They're both wrong. Ascension is a matter of belief, all the Godkindred were doing was breeding towards the phenotype their ancestors had immediately after descending from godhood.
- In The Blood Ladders, the founder of the Church in the human lands was the first human mage and while her gift was given by angels it is also carried by blood. The early Church was known for Bacchanalian orgies to spread her bloodline as widely as possible before they realized they could protect more people from demons by slipping a drop of magic-carrying blood into the communion wine.
- In Ringworld, it turns out that the Puppeteers are utilizing a "birth lottery" to breed genetically lucky humans. Teela is a result of this scheme. It's implied that they also engineered the Man-Kzin Wars to cull the more aggressive Kzinti and breed a more "docile" species. Louis is pretty angry about them doing this to humans, but kind of sees their point regarding the Kzinti.
- The Hatchery program in The Lives of Tao is used by the Genjix to breed the next generation of hosts, specifically by breeding for both intelligence and beauty, with an intense regiment of Training from Hell.
- In The Handmaid's Tale, massive social upheaval made it so that much of Eagleland became part of a fundamentalist Christian group, which was able to take over the government and form a theocracy. Disease had left many women (and men) sterile, so women under this new system were forced out of the workforce and categorized according to their marital and fertility status: Wives (wives of wealthy and powerful men), Handmaids (women who can't get married due to being Defiled Forever, but are fertile, and so used as Breeding Slaves to bear children on behalf of wives who can't), Econowives (wives of usually less-wealthy men, and who are capable of bearing children without the aid of a Handmaid), Daughters (virgin daughters of wealthy men, who will one day be given in Arranged Marriages to other wealthy men), Marthas (older or sterile women who are used as household servants), Aunts (postmenopausal women who instruct Handmaids), Jezebels (culturally-tolerated prostitutes who are forcibly sterilized), and Un-women (lesbians, feminists, lesbian feminists, Jezebels who grow old and lose their sex appeal, scientists, abortion providers, and other "undesirables" who are killed). There's an entire ritual around conception using a Handmaid, and it's heresy to even suggest that men could be infertile.
- The Sun Eater has the Chantry which is a cross between Dune's Bene Gesserit and the Spanish Inquisition. Besides combating proscribed ideas especially technology related to A.I., the Chantry is in charge of the Breeding of the aristocratic Palatines especially the Imperial family. The ultimate goal is to have a member of the Imperial family eventually have a child that will reintroduce the power of their ancestral God-Emperor.
- Mistborn: Wax and Wayne: The plot of the first book is that robbers are taking "random hostages" that never reappear; the heroes realize they're actually kidnapping women with the proper bloodlines for a Super Breeding Program. And then they discover that the villains have also started dabbling in the forbidden art of Hemalurgy, which allows you to steal powers by murder. This art would definitely work on newborn babies, if they have power to steal. In the fourth book, Marasi finds that the villains were going about this in a more intelligent way. Rather than just raping the women themselves (which would have engendered resentment and caused all sorts of problems), they kidnapped men too, tricked all of them into thinking that the world had ended, and locked them in a bunker with the captors as the "benevolent saviors." The kidnapped people, truly believing they were the chosen few who had been saved, were grateful and of course perfectly willing to pair off and produce children. And if sometimes those children went missing, well, they were warned about the monsters outside the bunker... They are not happy when Marasi finally convinces them of the truth.
- In Dark Angel's second season, the enemies of the X-series are breeding cult members of "pure-blood" that have comparable abilities to the impure, gene-hacked super soldiers. The transgenics are obstacles to the realization of the cult's planned extinction of the rest of humanity.
- Orphan Black: Hank, the leader of the Prolethian cult, intends on impregnating several women with his and Helena's children.
- The Book of Unremitting Horror has a cult of serial killers trying to incestuously mate a brother and sister couple who are both serial killers themselves. Their end goal is to create a god of serial killers known as the Empty One. This Eldritch Abomination would usher a new global dark age where all the serial killers in the world act openly against the rest of humanity.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Genestealer Cults infiltrate a planet, interbreed with its population to pass on their genes, and then cause strife to weaken them in preparation for Tyranid invasion.
- The Illuminati are a secret society composed mostly of radical Inquisitors who plan to create a reincarnation of the God-Emperor, though selective breeding is just one of the proposed methods. Most want to gather together all of the Emperor's descendants and sacrifice them all at once to return their power to him.
- Delta Green has the New Life Foundation, who produce an infallible — if extremely expensive — fertility treatment. They are a cult of Shub-Niggurath in disguise, and the fluid is her milk. The children born are separate variant of humans that can't breed with normal humans, and once they reach adulthood, they feel the natural call to follow Shub-Niggurath.
- Tales of Symphonia: The Chosen of Regeneration is specifically bred to serve as a perfect vessel for the Big Bad's dead/comatose sister, among other functions related to the setting's Corrupt Church.
- Fire Emblem:
- In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the Loptr Church are worshippers of Loptous, an evil dragon, who needs a human vessel to return. After a long period of being Reformed, but Rejected, the Lotpyrians under Manfroy decide to produce another vessel via interbreeding the descendants of the original vessel.
- In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the Grimleal are worshippers of the Fell Dragon Grima trying to create him a vessel, much like Loptous and the Loptr Church. Unlike the Loptr Church, the Grimleal have been attempting to create a child to serve as a vessel for the dragon's spirit for a straight one thousand years. Grimleal leadership is done by failed vessels of Grima. It turns out that the player's tactician character is the end result.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 1 has the High Entia royal line, which has a planned interbreeding program with Homs in order to rid themselves of the genes that cause them to mutate into Telethia, macroscopic digestive organisms for Zanza's true body, the Bionis.
- Baldur's Gate: The god of murder Bhaal learned of his impending death and started a few of these along with 'independent efforts'. The rescue of one of them sets off the plot. (The children were to be sacrificed at birth.)
- Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat is actually a descendant of an ancient cult that bred warriors for the gods, which is the source of his green energy powers.
- In Last Res0rt, the Celeste pseudo-religiously breed with as many species as possible. Arikos of Nile took it a step further by conning a couple hundred Talmi women into believing he could turn them into humans if they bore him Celeste children. He killed the ones who grew too old to bear children and the kids who "failed" until a bunch of his kids had enough and turned him in.
- Metalocalypse has the Succuboso Explosion, a cult consisting of psychotic women who want to be impregnated by Nathan Explosion in order to give birth to a new race of superhuman to take over the world. To that end, they're armed with "Loin Extractors", long-ranged suction cups meant to be aimed for the groin that also double as tasers.
- In the third season finale of Archer, several of the astronauts aboard the international space station Horizon try to start one of these, and attempt to make Lana Kane their "Mother of Mars" due to her intelligence, physical fitness, and physical attractiveness.