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Super Breeding Program

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Overlord: You are to be the forefather of a new race, together along with Kar-La, this genetically perfect woman as your mate. As I said, I am experimenting with a new type of android that requires the seed of a specimen such as yourself to produce a new race...superior to these rather slow-witted models.
Spoony: Eww! The androids need Yor's seed?! What kind of sick-ass future is this?

A character or group creates a "superior" being or beings through the good old-fashioned way (i.e. sex — or at least something involving a womb, artificial or not). This can take multiple forms, such as making it multi-generational or including supernatural/technologically augmented parents. This usually is an attempt to make Super Soldiers, but not always.

Social Darwinists, Those Wacky Nazis and Nazi-expies are often the masterminds behind the program, considering the very concept (eugenics, which is a far less fantastic version of this in real life) is basically their ideal. Of course, since breeding to get the desired result is essentially hit-or-miss, expect plenty of discussion of what happens to undesirable results, and the angst that accompanies it.

This shouldn't be confused with Designer Babies, who are artificially created to be better. However, this is not to say that you can't have Designer Babies as part of the experience. Stalker with a Test Tube is a more individualized Sub-Trope.

See also Genius Breeding Act, Superpowerful Genetics and Transhuman. May be the result of crossbreeding two species, creating a bunch of Half Human Hybrids or Heinz Hybrids. Usually results in Superpowered Mooks. May require a Disposable Superhero Maker. Compare LEGO Genetics and/or Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke. Inevitably creates a Super Prototype. Often a goal of the Evilutionary Biologist. Usually works on the assumption of Evolutionary Levels.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Beastars: In an Aborted Arc, it's heavily implied that dogs were living Anti-Carnivore weapons produced by the government via eugenics within the last 100 years. Bred for high agreeableness and intelligence, they lack the violent and self-centered tendencies of their wolf brethren, to the point where they're denied even the ability to feel emotions such as "anger" or "hatred". A Labrador Retriever and secondary character named Jack learns of this and is driven to the point of attempting suicide by the knowledge that he'll likely be asked to help the government round up his friends and put them in death camps in the near future and he'll be powerless to say no.
  • In Genma Wars, the Maoh King develops the habit of breeding with human females in order to produce a powerful heir. It's revealed that he was ordered to do so by the Great Genma King, the god of their race, to engineer endless conflicts by spawning as many half-human children as he could because Dystopia Justifies the Means.
  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms: The movie's plot is kicked off when Mezarte kingdom soldiers capture women from a Society of Immortals so that they can bear immortal children for the kingdom.
  • The silkworm god race in Monster Girl Doctor was domesticated by humans and selectively bred to produce lots of silk.
  • My Hero Academia: Part of the worldbuilding discusses the concept of "Quirk Marriages"; Arranged Marriages made in hopes of producing an advantageous combination of Quirks in the resulting child(ren). These were popular in the generations before the present, though they are falling out of favor in the modern era. Shoto Todoroki is the result of one of these marriages and possesses both the fire powers of his father and ice powers of his mother. His three elder siblings got much worse combinations and were declared failures. This is part of the reason why Toya Todoroki snapped and became the villain Dabi.
  • In Sore wa Totsuzen, Unmei no Aite ga ("Suddenly, the Marriage Partner Showed Up"), the Japanese Government carries this via arranging the marriages of their citizens through an agency named "Coupling Center", which uses genetic compatibility as its main matchmaking drive. There is an option to refuse said matches, but so far it hasn't been used in-story.
  • In Ranma ½, the Musk Dynasty are a reclusive Chinese tribe who descend from a number of men who wished to breed the sons to be the ultimate masters of the various animal-inspired martial arts styles. So each man would capture an animal of the style he wanted to marry and force her into the Jusenkyo Spring of Drowned Girl before using a Mode Lock artifact to trap the former beast in her new human form. These animal-women were then forced to bear the men's children; sons were raised in strict isolation away from women until they came of age to repeat the breeding ritual, whilst the fate of daughters is unknown. These boys came over generations to have traits from their partially bestial ancestry, such as levels of Super-Strength and Super-Speed beyond anything seen in the outer world. By the time of the present, however, we're told the Musk gave up on the whole "breed with transformed animals" thing some time ago.
  • In Sumomo Mo Momo Mo, Momoko Kuzuryu tries to sire a child with Koshi Inuzuka because she thinks that he could provide the perfect genetic material for children, who could use her family's most powerful techniques.
  • In TerraforMARS, we have Joseph G. Newton. His family is part of a Breeding Cult that seeks mates based entirely on their genetic qualities in order to create the perfect human. They have been doing this for over 500 years, and he is the current apex of that practice, which gave him Mars Power Ranking #1 despite never using the transformation drug.
  • In Thou Shalt Not Die, to achieve both this trope and helping psychic kids coping with being weapons with no rights, the Japanese government opened a soapland for the boys and orders the workers to collect their sperm.

    Comic Books 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, Fire Lord Azulon set up an arranged marriage between his son Ozai and Ursa, the granddaughter of Avatar Roku, in the hopes of breeding a superior bloodline of Firebenders.
  • Batman: Ra's Al Ghul's plans tend to revolve around this in his search for an heir, since his only "worthy" child, Talia, is a woman. Thus, he wants her and Batman to marry to give him a true male heir.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • In The Invaders, Adolf Hitler wanted to marry his two most perfect warriors, Master Man and Warrior Woman, to breed a race of Nazi supermen.
    • In Ms. Marvel (1977), the Kree Supreme Intelligence, having realized that they had reached a genetic dead end, becomes fascinated by the Kree-Human qualities of the then Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers). He kidnaps her and plans to mate her with Captain Marvel, but they manage to escape. Ironically, Carol became Ms. Marvel, at least in part, because of her attraction to Captain Marvel. (That was before she learned that he was the Kree Captain Mar-Vell, not human.) Dr. Minerva (aka Minn-Erva) later decided to make herself a Kree-Human hybrid and fulfill the Supremor's plans.
    • In New Warriors, a group of villains called the Folding Circle (as well as one of the Warriors, Silhouette) was formed by a cult of Cambodian sorceresses mating with American G.I.s so their super-powered offspring could fulfill a prophecy.
    • In some versions of Spider-Man, Lizard was a reptile-supremacist Mad Scientist. This resulted in some wacky hijinks like cloned dinosaurs or poisoning humans with "instant lizardman" formulae.
      • Sauron (yes, he chose the name intentionally) is much the same, right down to the 'turn people into dinosaurs thing'.
    • Inverted in Weapon Hex. After 22 attempts at creating a perfect vessel, all to which failed, Herbert and Sarah decided to deliberately create a flawed vessel in the hopes that Mephicthton would accept it. That vessel was named Laura.
    • In X-Men, this was Mister Sinister's motivation for a long time, seeking to combine the DNA of Jean Grey and Scott Summers. The first time round, he does it the old-fashioned way, with a clone of Jean programmed to fall in love with Scott called Madelyn Pryor. It ends badly. It partially succeeds, however, leading to the birth of Cable, who when unimpeded by the Techno-Organic virus is a genuine threat to Apocalypse and strong enough to hold a floating island in the air while going toe to toe with the Silver Surfer.
      • The Age of Apocalypse version goes the artificial route and combines Jean and Scott's DNA, artificially aging the result, Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man, as a Living Weapon to kill Apocalypse. It works — Apocalypse is beaten to a pulp and Magneto finishes him off. At full power, Nate is a fully fledged Reality Warper, Dimensional Traveller and possibly possessed of Resurrective Immortality (once, he dies after being infected by an artificial virus and essentially wills himself back to life). In any event, he is capable of becoming an Energy Being at will, stepping outside of time to see the future, and accidentally bringing back the dead, something he does at least twice — in one case, it even sticks. The second time, not so much. He also claimed once that he was born to destroy planets. No one contradicted him. More recently, he held off the entirety of the X-Men and Magneto, while carrying on a calm psychic conversation with his mother, then created an entire new plane of existence — the Age of X-Man. Unsurprisingly, he's quite possibly the most powerful mutant in Marvel's publication history, with only Franklin Richards for a peer, to the point where Onslaught used the pair of them as batteries. So, yeah, it worked.
    • In X-Men Noir, Bolivar Trask wrote in-universe fiction depicting a universe where what remains of humanity after an Apocalypse How is ruled by a 'Council of Breeders' who are engaging in one of these, producing humans with the best traits of all the races. However, they have also bred out things like 'joy' and 'spontaneity' in their attempts to make humans perfect.
  • In Paranoia, Friend Computer initiates a eugenics program to create the perfect clone, where each member is telepathic so they could learn from each other's mistakes.
  • Star Trek: Early Voyages: In "Our Dearest Blood", the Rigellians specifically bred the Kaylar as a warrior elite. They are larger than the average humanoid and possess pronounced fangs. They appear to have limited intelligence and can seemingly only say their name, which is typically used as a battle cry.
  • Star Trek: Untold Voyages: In "Worlds Collide", it is revealed that Saavik and the other half-Vulcan, half-Romulan children that Spock found in the ruins of an abandoned Romulan colony almost a year earlier were part of a secret Romulan project to breed hybrids using captured Vulcans. The Romulans hoped to improve their race through selective breeding by exploiting the subtle genetic differences that had developed between Romulans and Vulcans since the two races diverged 2,000 years earlier.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • The story indicates that the Askani get up to a relatively harmless variant of this, looking to maintain their bloodlines of psychics, and have for millennia, occasionally looking for new input into those bloodlines — such as Charles Xavier, who was none too pleased by the idea. Xavier himself, a Professor of Evolutionary Biology, also punches several holes in their logic. One of the most prominent ones, one acknowledged by the Askani themselves, is that a family they'd exiled about 1000 years back ended up producing Jean, Maddie, and Harry — the three most powerful psychics ever born.
    • On a much less harmless scale, Doctor Nathaniel Essex is, as per canon, very interested in this.
  • Destiny Intertwined: Dragon clans often engage in selective breeding by carefully vetting proposed matches and brokering one-off breeding encounters, in order to strengthen elemental bloodlines or to introduce desired elements or elemental variants into their families. It is also common for this to be done in order to produce and maintain desired physical traits.
  • Game Theory (Lyrical Nanoha): The TSAB provides incentives for citizens with Rare Skills to have children in order to perpetuate their abilities. Megane conceived Lutecia through artificial insemination in part for this reason.
  • In Glimmer of Hope: Cato's Story, its custom in Districts 1 and 2 to arrange marriages between Victors to produce better Tributes. Cato's parents Severus and Livia are one such pairing.
  • The Kakashi Way: Before the Uchiha Massacre, there were several attempts made by the Uchiha and Hyuuga to unite their bloodlines and have children that inherited traits of the Sharingan and the Byakugan. While most children tended to take after one parent more than the other, those who did wind up with both tended not to last long; their chakra ate them from the inside out. Frequently before they were even born, claiming the life of their mother in the process.
  • In Mandie's New Target, Princess Mandie explains Boudacians became so powerful through this. Since her father is not a Boudacian, her mother married a powerful member of another race so that her child could inherit his best traits. Seeing Danny Phantom in action, Mandie wants him as a lover and to breed supersoldiers. Danny has no desire to be with her and rejects the idea of fathering evil planet conquerors.
  • In the RWBY Crack Fic Ozpin the Eugenicist, the eponymous Eccentric Mentor breeds his students together so as to ensure humanity's future safety against the Grimm. Drugs are involved.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: The Bloodline King has one of these, and he forcibly kidnaps people to be used to breed bloodliner children. These include Misty's older sisters.
  • The A Song of Metal and Marvels series has Qyburn, who in this series is a Composite Character with Mr. Sinister, and thus has the latter's interest in eugenics. He has spent centuries manipulating people and events to crossbreed various prominent bloodlines, including pushing Lyanna and Rhaegar together, with his first POV chapter at the end of Book 3 opening with him looking over the truly massive family tree he's engineered. And what's scariest about it is that he's not doing it for any specific purpose beyond scientific curiosity; there's no end goal, this is just his idea of fun.
  • Son of the Sannin:
    • This is Jiraya's long term plan with Haku. Get him attached enough to the village to want to stay once Zabuza's parole has ended, and then start a family to add another powerful clan to Konoha's ranks.
    • Mei Terumi mentions at one point that she was constantly pressured by her family into having children for this reason (since she is a rare case of having two Bloodline Limits). The author also mentions that this is one of the reasons why they found her Old Maid status in canon so ridiculous (the other being that her looks, power, smarts, and influence would have most men fight to the death for the right to be her husband).
  • The Valyrian Empire in Song of a Northern Sorcerer made a point of adding powerful magic bloodlines to their strength through conquest. The ghost of an Archon laments the Rhoynar fleeing rather than allowing their elemental sorcery to be assimilated, and frets about the dragonlords failing to produce a superior mage by taking a Stark princess as consort. Darth Nox reassures the ghost that the plan has been fulfilled through Jon Snow, born of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, allowing the Archon to peacefully move on.
  • Endeavour in Total Command utilizes this just as much as her canon male self, treating Rei as a Baby Factory. When she sees Izuku's quirk in action, she drops her "past project" Shoko and tries to take his sperm to create a hero to surpass All-Might. Aware of the type of person she really is, Izuku has absolutely no interest in being anywhere near her.
  • Wish Carefully: Death Eaters kidnapped a group of women to become the Cabal, to breathe in new life for their inbred bloodlines and ensure magically strong children.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Felidae, Claundandus plans to breed cats back to their original, superior form, and eliminates those that would cause a glitch in his plans.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • James Bond:
    • In Moonraker, main villain Hugo Drax plans to do some omnicide, and repopulate the planet Noah’s Ark style with pairs of men and women he has determined to be the best specimens of the human race.
    • A View to a Kill: Big Bad Max Zorin's Freudian Excuse stems from the fact that he's the end result of a eugenics project, in which pregnant women in concentration camps were forcibly overdosed with steroids in an attempt to create the ideal Super-Soldier for the Nazis. The few babies that survived grew to become extraordinarily gifted — but also totally sociopathic.
  • In Super Mario Bros. (1993), Koopa is trying to create a new breed of soldiers by transforming the denizens of his universe into large mooks with tiny heads.

  • According to Allegiant, people who entered the Bureau's walled off community in Chicago had to agree to have as many children as possible, with the purpose of eventually making "genetically pure" or "genetically healed" humans, known as Divergents.
  • Alterien: The Alteriens breed with each other to continue their species. The Nano Alteriens will have children who inherit all their abilities despite technically being half human. Their children also inherit their attractive physical traits, with none falling short of the beautiful faces and physiques of their parents, grandparents, etc.
  • In the future society of Brave New World, where people aren't even allowed to breed on their own, Uterine Replicators are used to genetically and biologically control the development of the fetus, and have multiple castes of humans, some vastly different in appearance and intelligence, based on what jobs they can have (it's also a form of Population Control).
  • The Counselors and Kings trilogy tells about the Halruaan tradition of divining for good marriages and the tradition of occasionally arranging the births of antimagical Jordain. The first was generally suspected to be the work of an Ancient Conspiracy breeding the desired talents and preventing undesirable, the second turned out to go much deeper and darker than the public believed.
  • DFZ: Opal was genetically engineered by a dragon using the impressive genes of her mother, crossed with the genes of a powerful mage donor, to make her the most powerful mage on the planet and beautiful to boot. Her parents were extremely disappointed when she came out rather average in the looks department, and Unskilled, but Strong in the magic department. It turns out that her incredible power was the exact problem. Every magical education is designed for the average mage, and Opal is orders of magnitude stronger. Nobody ever bothered to teach her how to turn down her power to manageable levels, so every time she tried to use magic it just burst past the limits the spells were designed for and exploded. Eventually she stopped trying to learn.
  • In the Discworld novel Feet of Clay, the Big Bad had been breeding the royal family from behind the scenes for quite some time before they went missing. He takes a strong interest in Captain Carrot, who is almost certainly the long-lost scion of that bloodline.
  • This trope is all over the place in Dune, starting from the Bene Gesserit with their Kwisatz Haderach project and their, um, specialists in this area. They got their Kwisatz Haderach, all right. They just didn't expect him to lead an army of Fremen and take over the known universe.
    • The noble houses of the Landsraad, mostly by virtue of being the male side of the Bene Gesserit breeding program (and many of their daughters being recruited into the Bene Gesserit), are an unusual case of a hereditary aristocracy that really is genetically superior to most of the general population.
    • The imperial Sardaukar and the Fremen are two Badass Armies from Death Worlds where they Had to Be Sharp. Leto II creates a "crossbreed army" that surpasses either of them.
  • Subverted in the Gentleman Bastard Sequence. You'd expect the Bondsmagi to be the type of sinister organization to have some form of mage-breeding program in place. They don't, for reasons both pragmatic and emotional. The pragmatic reason is that magical ability "does not breed true", and while genetics is barely understood to be a thing in the setting, the implication is that it depends on a huge number of interacting alleles, none of which can be individually correlated to identifiable characteristics. The emotional one is that the Bondsmagi are just as against being bred like cattle as any other free-spirited human and prefer to be allowed to have children with whoever they damn well please, thank you very much.
  • Inverted in Infernal Devices by K. W. Jeter. Mad Scientist George Dower Sr. is the World's Smartest Man, but for his experiments in aetheric sympathies, he needed a child who's the picture of mediocrity. So he marries the least imaginative, most mundane woman he could find (she doesn’t even rate a name in the book) and the result is a success. George Dower Jr. is a very mediocre, unimposing man who's a bit of a dumbass.
  • Robert A. Heinlein:
    • The Howard Families of the Future History series are a breeding project for longevity. Considering that Lazarus Long was born about three generations in and is still kicking (and sometimes contributing to the project) after more than two thousand years, it seems to be a success.
    • Gulf features a secret group of super-intelligent humans who are engaged in a number of long-term plans, including a breeding program to increase their own numbers as well as become a physically distinct species no longer capable of interbreeding with homo sapiens.
    • In Tunnel in the Sky, a group of high school and college students are stranded on an alien planet when a survival test goes wrong. One of the college students, "Waxie", starts to filibuster that the colony should run on "scientific criteria" and that they're in a position to breed a super-race. During his bid for mayor, the pieces of a shattered clay pot are used his ballots, with the resident smartass declaring "the crackpots are votes for Waxie".
  • In The Irregular at Magic High School, this trope is the reason that magician society is so awful. How awful is it? There is a character who's so frail that he can't leave his bed half the time, because he is the product of incest meant to create a magically strong child. Another family — the Yotsuba — is on the brink of ruin because its descendants are so strong that the family elders cannot discipline them effectively.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Kid Stuff": The elf is a Mutant member of its own race, capable of using its Psychic Powers to generate electricity. Once it has shown to the rest of Avalon how its genetics are superior, it plans to breed its children together and develop a race of super-elves.
  • In Known Space, the "Teela Brown gene", which makes a human being who possesses it amazingly lucky, is the product of a very long-term breeding program performed in secret by the Pierson's Puppeteers on the entire human race. By the chronologically last story in the series, "Safe at any Speed", the gene has spread to the point that nearly 90% of all humans in the galaxy are lucky.
  • The Lensman series has the Arisian breeding program, which advances to penultimates in the Arisians' four best candidate species. Although the development of all four species is advanced as a result (with spinoff side benefits for the rest of the galaxy), the Arisians' ultimate goal for their breeding program is to create the ultimate telepathic weapon even though, as a consequence, they will make themselves obsolete as guardians of civilisation — a fate they accept to its logical extreme.
  • The Long Utopia, book four in The Long Earth series, reveals that a group of natural steppers — people who can move between alternate Earths — set one of these up in the 1800s. Pooling their resources, they created a long-term trust that would offer their descendants incentives to meet, marry and have kids (without telling them exactly why).
  • Uruk-hai in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers are a result of Sauron's attempt at breeding orcs that would be more resilient and better suited to function in an organized society.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: While it isn't formalized in any way, the mage aristocracy often tries to breed more powerful mage children, which is part of the all-consuming societal drive to push the limits of magic. To that end, Teen Pregnancy is tacitly encouraged by Kimberly Magic Academy, with mages third-year and up officially permitted to conceive children. This causes Nanao and Pete to start getting approached repeatedly for dates starting in volume 4, since both are Mages Born of Muggles with unique magical traits that could potentially be bred into a bloodline.
  • Repairman Jack runs into a villainous example in Bloodline, in which a highly Tainted man's sons work to fulfill their father's scheme to kidnap and rape their half-sister, then impregnate the daughter of that incestuous rape, all so they can concentrate the demonic Taint in their family and generate a full-blooded q'qr.
  • In Christopher Nuttall's The Royal Sorceress, there's a breeding program for magicians called "The Farms". It is an effort to create Master Magicians (or at least multi-powered magicians), magicians with all magical abilities, instead of just one like other magicians (or the extremely rare magicians with two). There have only been five total Master magicians in history. Female magicians are sent to the farms unwillingly and used as breeding slaves by male magicians, and the resulting offspring are sent to be raised by magician nobles in order to increase the number of magical nobles loyal to Britain. In accordance with Superpowerful Genetics, most of the resulting offspring end up as magicians with a single power, who are actually weaker than their parents.
  • The isolated Dunyain monks of the Second Apocalypse series have adhered to a breeding program for thousands of years to give them nearly superhuman mental and physical abilities. Their genes have become so exaggerated that they only rarely breed true. Insane or deformed children are traditionally discarded.
  • Sword of Truth: It turns out that the Sisters of the Light have one. Hoping to breed more Wizards, who are dying out, the young Wizards training under them are encouraged to sire children with the Sisters of the Light (who are all sorceresses) or the muggle women in the city. In the latter case, they'll pay the mothers a stipend for raising the child. Verna had a daughter with one of the Wizards, Jedediah, who didn't have the gift and thus was given to another family. She kept in contact with her, and thus endured seeing her daughter die of old age as the Palace of the Prophets slows the Sisters' aging so they can live for centuries on end.
  • Taken to perhaps the point of parody in The Tamuli, where the Atan race were originally a subset of Tamuls, who were bred for strength and size. After a thousand years or so, they had become so fearsome that they threatened to kill off themselves over minor feuds, so a system of cultural slavery was introduced, so that every Atan would only take orders from a Tamul official or other duly appointed authority (this mostly boils down to the Atans asking permission to avenge a perceived slight, getting a no, and going back to what they were doing before).
  • In the Temps story "Totally Trashed" by Roz Kaveney, Leonora claims that her grandparents were subjected to this during World War II. Since her mother was Untalented, and her own Talent is weird and apparently useless, the Powers That Be decided this wasn't reliable.
  • In the Tower and the Hive series, there's no formal eugenics going on, but Talent is mostly heritable and strong Talents tend to marry strong Talents (for multiple reasons; among others, in FT&T powerful Talents primarily socialize with each other). This leads to the top spots in FT&T being dominated by a few extended families; one member of such responds to accusations of nepotism by calling it "smart family planning". Earlier in the series, FT&T offered up financial and positional incentives for Talents who had kids together, but it's implied that very few high-level Talents took them up on it, prior to the Rowan and Jeff Raven. (Hence why, by the final novel, 75% of Towers were run by Rowan and Raven's kids and grandkids.)
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • In A Civil Campaign, a Barrayaran Count sets up a breeding program using cast-off female eggs and his own sperm in Uterine Replicators to create dozens of his own daughters, not as a bid to create some kind of pure or super race, but to improve the demographics of his county. (He picked daughters because Barrayar's patriarchal laws would give him more control over them, and also because Barrayar had an unbalanced gender ratio and the Count was trying to lure male taxpayers with marriage opportunities.) The wife (who'd already given him a few legitimate children), whose consent he did not have, wasn't very happy about it, either. The Imperial government managed to find a culturally acceptable way of discouraging more of this without penalizing the innocent girls: the Count is ordered to provide them — all of them — with appropriate dowries.
    • The Cetagandans are a better example of this. The haut, the highest of their caste, are working on a two-track system to create a superior breed of humanity, incorporating useful genes from lesser castes in order to modify themselves. Procreation is accomplished through replicators and negotiated genetic contracts, meaning that not only may a set of parents not ever have sex, but they might never even meet.
  • In the Wild Cards series, the Takisians have this going on. Thousands of years in the past a small percentage of their population began to develop minor telepathic powers. The telepaths all quickly got together and started a eugenic breeding program that led to a significant increase in their powers, and their becoming a Supernatural Elite over their planet.
  • In The Witcher, there's a not-so-Ancient Conspiracy of long-living sorcerers who bred their own uber-mage (by the way, from leftovers of an older Elven program), manipulating a few "interesting" ancestries via arranged marriages, "random" quarrels and love potions. One sorceress who was induced into the secret immediately expressed her opinion on the idea very graphically — by swirling the visual representation of the bloodlines into complete chaos and stating that's how this works outside the official genealogy books. As in Dune, they ended up with something too hot for them to handle — but weren't wise enough to drop it before some got burns.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Psi Corps in Babylon 5, among other things, breeds telepaths for psionic ability.
    • The Expanded Universe claims that the telepathy gene is mitochondrial (i.e., passed down from the mother), so a union between a Mundane mother and a telepath father would result in a Mundane child. It's implied that father's genes serve to enhance the child's telepathy if he or she has received the gene from the mother (otherwise, breeding would be pointless). This fact also resulted in many female telepaths keeping their mothers' last name (e.g., the female Alexander line stretches back to the founding of the Psi Corps).
  • The Familiars from Dark Angel had been running one of these for millennia.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", Luke Rattigan plans this for the students at his academy, all fellow teen geniuses, in order to populate another planet with a "super race" of humans. They're understandably freaked out when he reveals this plan (amongst other equally frightening suggestions...).
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: In "Design", Douglas McManus is running one of these, hoping to increase the IQ of the human race by gathering the sperm samples of men with high intelligence for in-vitro fertilization, as he's convinced that IQs are dropping.
  • Logan's Run: In "The Innocent", Rem determines that Lisa's ancestors were test subjects in an experiment into the development of psychokinetic powers conducted by the US government. Her abilities allow her to defend herself from anyone who tries to enter the former test facility in which she lives.
  • The Man in the High Castle: Joe Blake discovers in Season 2 that he was born as part of the Lebensborn program in 1935 before his mother took him to the United States prior to the war. He initially feels angered and weirded out by this because the older generation of Germans treat them as some sort of destined group. He meets a German girl in Berlin and others who were also part of the same program. In Season 3, Himmler disposes of the Lebensborn by using them as assassins on suicide missions.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Witches are encouraged to have children together through Arranged Marriages in hopes of them having stronger magic. It is suggested that mixing the bloodline with civilian blood can result in "faint" witches' marks and Raelle mentions that it is generally looked down on to have a civilian father (which she does). Husbands are selected for good genetic material, with multiple ones simultaneously contributing to the child's conception in polygamous marriages (standard eugenics taken into fantastic territory). This even gets compared with horse breeding.
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Space Seed" implies that this is how Khan and his ilk came about. They were called the "Eugenics Wars", after all. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan retcons this to have been modern genetic engineering.
  • In Supernatural, Sam and Dean are the end result of generations of matchmaking by the forces of Heaven and Hell to produce the True Vessels for the Archangels Lucifer and Michael respectively.
  • Taken: In the final episode "Taken", John explains the purpose of the aliens' experiment in crossbreeding over the course of three generations to Charlie, Lisa and Allie. When Sally took him into her house and tended to him in "Beyond the Sky", his long dormant emotions were brought to the surface by this simple act of kindness. The aliens sought to combine their more highly evolved consciousness with the strength and power that humans draw from their emotions. Allie was the end result of their experiment, which John describes as an unqualified success. He tells Lisa that it is Allie's destiny to join the aliens and help them to come to terms with their latent emotions.
  • One of the plotlines on Season 2 of World on Fire has Marga, a teenaged girl who is extremely naive and who also happens to be blonde-haired and blue-eyed, volunteer to participate in the Nazi Lebensborn program as a breeder of Aryan babies.

  • Journey into Space: In The Return from Mars, the Talians are dedicated to creating perfect beings. As such, breeding is strictly regulated. Anyone who has a child without permission is exiled from Talia and is forced to join the Sotteers, a group of genetic rejects.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Clans of BattleTech have a multi-generational version of this, where only the best of the best warriors are allowed to breed. However, they turn out to not be much better than the Inner Sphere's "freeborn" soldiers, especially when it came to strategy.
    • It's a bit of a hit and miss case. The Clans' "Elemental" Powered Armor wearing infantry are two and a half meters tall and terrifyingly strong even outside their armor. Clan Mechwarriors are probably better fighters one-on-one than their Inner Sphere counterparts even without the benefit of better equipment, but not by much and hamstrung by a rigid code of honor that their opponents very quickly learned to exploit. Clan Aerospace fighters, on the other hand, are generally worse than counterparts and more or less considered a complete failure.
    • Ultimately, the Trueborn program was complicated by both Fantastic Racism and Clan politics. It is almost unheard of for even the most skilled of freeborn warriors to have their genes added to their Clan's gene pool; even in the rare instances where exceptions have been made, the warriors in question are still direct descendantsnote  of one or more of the original 800 warriors with which the program began. Similarly, given that only Bloodnamed warriors are included in the breeding program and the politicized nature of Trials of Bloodright, "best" is often synonymous with "most politically connected."
  • The Dragon-Bloods in Exalted tried to keep their blood "pure" by only mating with each other in an earlier time in the setting. This loosened somewhat as the Second Age rolled on, and they started sleeping with mortals, at a corresponding cost to their power. The Dynasty has the purest blood of the Terrestrial Exalted in Creation, since they descend from the Empress (who was either of unusual purity or completely pure-blooded, Depending on the Writer) and keep tighter track of their genealogies.
    • The Lintha also try their hand at this, but since Polyamory is expected of all pure-blooded Lintha, it's a practical impossibility to determine for certain who the real father of any given Lintha was.
      • A few Lintha are also secretly running much more carefully documented breeding programs that are less concerned with the more ideological notions of blood purity that prohibit mating with non-Lintha, as well as being more direct in breeding in some god and demon blood. It's actually having some good returns, but is so dreadfully heretical that their scale has to be kept fairly small, lest it be discovered and everybody involved brutally executed.
  • In the Nentir Vale setting for Dungeons & Dragons, Thouls were created by the ancient hobgoblin empire as an attempt to engineer a race of Super Soldiers by crossbreeding hobgoblins with trolls and then infecting the resultant hybrids with ghouldom. The resultant creatures were physically superior to their base hobgoblin ancestors, combining the Super-Strength and Healing Factor of a troll with the ripping talons and paralytic touch of a ghoul, but the experiment was considered less than a success; thouls turned out to lack the hobgoblin discipline and control, and they were also (by goblinoid standards, at least) extremely slow-breeding.
  • Believing in eugenics, the Nazis of Rocket Age have been working on breeding perfect Aryans.
  • Warhammer 40,000's Fabius Bile has long been experimenting with this kind of science, in order to spread his twisted "new men" across the galaxy. Fabius's idea of what constitutes human perfection is not exactly pleasant...

    Video Games 
  • A sidequest in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura reveals that this is the origin of the Half-Ogre species. They were actually created by a Government Conspiracy of Gnomes who wanted an obedient and powerful race to serve as bodyguards for them, and to that end, created a horrible breeding program that secretly kidnapped human and elf women, and forcibly impregnated them with Ogre semen. The births were almost invariably fatal for the mother, and the program went through countless of victims who gave birth to sterile hybrids before enough Half-Ogres who could reproduce were born to create a viable gene pool, at which point the whole program was covered up. Attempts were made to impregnate female Ogres with human DNA, but this almost never led to pregnancy. Worse still, the evidence of the conspiracy is stolen, and the player has no way of proving what they found.
  • Beyond: Two Souls: It is revealed that the CIA has been experimenting with selective breeding by pairing up people with limited psychic abilities to see if their powers will be increased in the next generation. Jodie Holmes is a result of this project.
  • Crusader Kings, due to characters having inheritable genetic traits that can be combined and passed down to their children, has always had this as an option, but Crusader Kings III makes it an outright gameplay element. Firstly, the game allows you improve your dynasty's bloodline through the legacies mechanic, making members of your dynasty more likely to pass down favorable traits. Then there's a title called the 'blood-father/mother' you can obtain if you breed forth a character with all three positive traits (intelligence, looks, build), with no negative traits and one of the three at the highest level, which further buffs that character and all their descendants with large bonuses to passing down positive traits, and finally there's the 'Pure-Blooded' trait which makes a character resistant to producing inbred offspring. Obtaining all these goals will require the player to engage in a lot of Royal Inbreeding and outright eugenics, and probably a lot of inbred failures amongst the way.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, it is explained that the Tevinter Imperium practices the Arranged Marriage version of this. All social power is held by aristocratic human mages, and they've spent generations inter-marrying to exploit Superpowerful Genetics.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The Thalmor seek to replace human dominance with elven dominance, so they pillage supplies from their annexed countries, breed like rabbits, and kill any babies they deem 'defective' in a bid for racial purity. And unknown to most of the rank-and-file Thalmor, the Thalmor's high council are planning to make this extremist breeding amount to nothing, as they believe they can reincarnate into perfect unchanging beings by starving the gods of belief and destroying the universe.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, as successful results of Magic infusion experiment, Celes is expected to marry Kefka and bear his children for the Empire. Thankfully, the story never went that route.
  • A major plot point in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has the Loptr Church breeding a new vessel for their dragon of worship, Loptous to return, via breeding two siblings who are distant descendants of Loptous' original vessel. They turn out to be the hero's Love Interest and his rival.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening does the same thing as Genealogy of the Holy War with one twist: The Avatar, a.k.a. the player character, is the product of one of these, held by the the Grimleal cult to breed a person who can be the perfect vessel of Grima... and the current leader of the project is the Avatar's biological father, Validar.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: When Sol's generation gets close to later teens, Tang starts crunching the numbers for the colony's prospective genetic diversity. She notices that while the presence of the Heliopause crew means that overall diversity will be even less of a problem than anticipated, the future population has a very high chance of ending up with a high rate of hereditary heart disease if people are left to their own devices. This can be avoided with careful planning over several generations, resulting in a brief exchange over the ethics of such a plan. The trope is outright deconstructed when Tang refuses to contribute her own genetic material to the next generation and people bemoan the fact that her intellect won't be transmitted, while the choice has to do with her not wanting to perpetuate her family's established history of mental illness. Note that this happens in a setting in which genetics-based Bio-Augmentation is already a thing.
  • Love of Magic: MC's birth was a plan by Merlin and the Horned Lord to create an evoker with incredibly strong sorcery.
  • Mewgenics: A large part of the Raising Sim half of the game, as evidenced by its Intentionally Awkward Title, is organizing a Super Breeding Program by carefully choosing which cats should hump eachother. Or magician breeding program, or strongcat, or...
  • My Child Lebensborn is about the fate of children born to Nazi Germany's own take on the trope after World War II ended, so it gets a few mentions over the course of the story.
  • The Pokémon games have allowed the player to do this since Pokémon Gold and Silver. It's pretty much a requirement if you want to play competitively against other people or even do well at the various battle facilities that are unlocked in the post-game. Each generation of games after Gold and Silver have also made breeding better monsters easier and easier and allow you to customize the monster with high stats, moves that they can't normally learn, rare abilities and even shiny forms on top of that.
    • A possible and rather obscure subversion is also present in Pokémon Gold and Silver. Pokémon with certain DVs (genes, essentially) that align exactly will not produce an egg, even if all other conditions are met. Presumably, this is to discourage inbreeding.
  • The Chosen in Tales of Symphonia always comes from a long-line of people whose marriages and children were designated by the church to create children who can become angels for the Journey of Regeneration. In fact the intent is to create a body that Martel's soul can take over. In particular, Zenos' parents also never loved each other, and correspondingly did have much interest in him either.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has an interesting spin on this: the High Entia have, for millenia, had a tradition of royals marrying both a High Entia and a Homs partner, producing children with both. Due to this, Homs blood has slowly been spreading through the High Entia, and Homs-hybrids are becoming more and more common. To many, this would be a downgrade, as High Entia are longer lived and generally more powerful than Homs... but the true goal is to breed out the genes in the High Entia that would eventually trigger their transformation into Telethia. Only the reigning monarch and specific trusted individuals know of this, leading many High Entia questioning why the tradition is upheld.

  • Archipelago: The dragons are obsessed with racial purity because only pure-blooded dragons can transform into giant flying fire-breathing monsters and mixed-bloods can't, leading to an inevitable decline. However, this pisses off one of their number when they treat him like a slab of raw meat for raising a family that wasn't pure-blooded, causing him to leave and start the plot when his Deal with the Devil goes horribly wrong, warping both himself and the demon he made a pact with.
  • Demonseed Redux: The Big Bad's main goal is to create a Nephilim through a magical Demonseed and win the war.
  • Out-of-Placers: The yinglets are engaged in one of sorts: since there are far more males than females, only the most capable males, or those with advantageous mutations (such as extra teeth or larger size) are allowed to breed with the females.
  • In Spinnerette, North Korea had a breeding program intended to create more supervillains like Colonel Glass. They kidnapped women who had the Cherenkov-Kirby reaction in their bloodline, impregnated them, and exposed them to radiation. Mecha Maid was one of the children produced, she suspects the radiation caused her ALS.
  • The Dagrenning Program ("Dawn" in several Nordic languages) in Stand Still, Stay Silent is essentially this. Only a small portion of the Icelandic population is born with immunity to The Plague, so getting that number up via enabling non-immune couples to have The Immune children via sperm and egg donations is considered to trump any ethical concerns by most people in the setting. The poster about the program shown to the reader does, however, imply some biases in the "quality" of samples that would definitely be on the dark side of eugenics in modern day. To wit, their "unsuitable" candidate example is an unattractive alcoholic with questionable personal hygiene while their "suitable" candidate is a good-looking and hard-working farmer.
  • Family Business: Zig-Zagged. Rezans believe themselves to be the Master Race, what with their mastery over all stat attributes, superior technology, and universal cross-species fertility. The problem is, any genetic purity leads to "overspecialization"; inbreeding will eventually lead to Gorods - hulking, monstrous mutants that are as sterile as they are stupid. To prevent this and total extinction, their entire culture is centered around raiding parties to kidnap slaves to breed with, choosing those with exotic features and unique behavioral traits. Most Rezans are fairly appreciative of culture diversity and treat mixed-breed Rezans with full equality, though they typically look down on their breeding stock.

    Web Original 
  • Cracked:
  • In Flight of the Godkin Griffin, the Godkindred Kingdom believe that by breeding many different species together they can become gods. Social status is determined by the number of species in one's genealogy.
  • One of the Q&A sessions in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device has a letter propose one of these after hearing of The Emperor's own creation. Everyone is creeped out by it, even the Custodes.
  • In Metamor City, the Psi Collective organizes many of its members into polyamorous "breeding cells" in order to increase their numbers and the power of the next generation. Unfortunately, because one man can have children with several women at once, many weaker men such as Daniel are forbidden from forming cells while practically every woman with a pulse is encouraged to join one.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-ES-091 is an abandoned town located in southern Chile, the site was part of a eugenic project and strange experiments related to human reproduction apparently were carried out in it. The town was abandoned decades ago, however, there is apparently something (possibly supernatural) that continues to influence the animals and humans that enter the area.

    Western Animation 
  • El Seed from The Tick had an ultimate goal of creating an army of super-strong animated plants.

    Real Life 
  • Natural selection, itself, is essentially an automatic, undirected version of this trope, provided one defines "superior" merely as "more prone to leave descendants under extant conditions".
  • Eugenics is based on a disastrous misunderstanding of genetics. The hard truth is that it's just not possible to breed some sort of Ultimate Life Form by selecting for supposedly superior genes, as genetics do not work that way, and evolution is not goal oriented or organized along Evolutionary Levels. Unfortunately, this wasn't really known until later into the 20th century.
    • An additional irony is in reality this trope is just about the exact opposite of what one would want in a healthy population. The smaller the gene pool, even when narrowed with the intent of promoting benign or desired traits, the higher the chance of disastrous inbreeding combinations that result in mental or physical deformities (just go to the trope Royally Screwed Up for a long list of examples). Not to mention increased vulnerability to diseases old and new. The fact selective breeding often seeks to promote exterior traits regardless of what consequences appear in the genome only exacerbates this. It's one reason why "purebred" dogs are almost always far less healthy than "mixed bred/mutts", the smaller gene pools can lead to harmful recessive traits cropping up more and more.
  • The trope is Older Than Feudalism, with Plato being an early proponent to practice selective mating in order to create an elite class of men.
  • During the Spanish Conquest of America, marriages between Spanish captains and Mesoamerican princesses were usual in order to seal political alliances the best way, but early into their contact, when there was still ambiguity among the natives whether the bearded foreigners were supernatural or not, one of their lords, Xicohtencatl the Elder, told his council they absolutely needed to produce mestizo children with Hernán Cortés and company so they could have relatives of their mighty ranks.
  • The eugenics movement became strong in the twentieth century, which led to such unpleasantries as The United States forcibly sterilizing around sixty thousand supposed "undesirables" (criminals, poor people, prostitutes, The Mentally Disturbed, etc.), and Nazi Germany massacring millions of its own "undesirables" (including nearly six million Jews) to maintain a supposed Aryan Master Race.
  • The Nazis also had the Lebensborn (Fount of Life) program which encouraged fit "Aryans" to have more children, with public awards and financial incentives. Abortion was permitted if a disability was discovered, but otherwise strictly forbidden. They also provided aid to unwed mothers (many of them with children fathered by the SS-even Himmler). Some of these facilities were in occupied countries, aiding children deemed born to "Aryans" from other ethnic groups (such as Norwegians) though many at least had German fathers. Many films and books greatly exaggerated these events, turning it into a coercive, centralized operation. In fact, it was voluntary, with no legal punishment for not having more children (except with regards to abortion).
  • Speaking of Germany, the Prussian king Frederick William I was obsessed with tall soldiers and reportedly tried making more by breeding some of his "Potsdam Giants" with tall women.
  • Domestication involves doing this to certain animals. Even if the animal's life cycle can be observed within a human's lifetime, the process still takes decades. Breeding for docility can have very profound effects on the animal's appearance in addition to its behavior. One experiment to breed domestic foxes had them become very similar to domestic dogsnote  (they behaved like puppies well into adulthood, and even gained piebald coats).
    • This experiment with foxes also brought to light an interesting correlation between aggressiveness and ear cartilage formation. The less aggressive the animal was the more its ears became floppy and drooped. The same can be observed in dogs, where the more naturally aggressive a breed is the more erect the ears are.
    • However it must be noted that domestication and selective breeding doesn't make "better" traits overall, just making a lifeform more optimized for living with humans. A well trained dog will follow orders far better than any trained wolf can, but in terms of physical and genetic health, and physicality for attributes like jaw strength, agility, and stamina; a wild wolf of comparable size will always surpass a dog.
  • Farming has done this for plants as well. Selective breeding over thousands of years has created fruits, vegetables, and grains that are much larger and more nutritious than their wild counterparts.


Video Example(s):


"The Future of Our Kind"

When Scott and Jean Grey are captured by Mr. Sinister, he harvests their genetic material, stating that combined, they will make a force more powerful than anything the world had ever seen. Scott declares the X-Men will stop him. Sinister figures they'll try, but believes that Jean might be able to pull it off, and so orders Archangel to eliminate the pair.

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / YoureInsane

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