Neogenics

NEOGENICS
Image from Bernd Helfert
The design and creation of completely new life forms.

Neogenics is a term for the set of technologies involved in creating entirely new and unprecedented biological organisms. Neogens are distinguished from gengineered organisms in that they are not modified or combined versions of existing organisms; they have no natural ancestors, whether Terragen or xenobiont. They may have the same morphotype as some existing life form but a completely different underlying structure, physiology or genetic makeup, or on the other hand they may be completely novel. A typical neogen does at least share common genetic coding and biochemistry with a set of natural organisms, but that is not inevitable. Some lazurogenic work may be considered a branch of neogenics, especially if information regarding the original organism is patchy, but the term "neogen" is usually used for an organism that is not an attempt to emulate extinct life forms.

Successful neogenics requires integrated and intensive knowledge of nearly every branch of theoretical and applied biology. This requires an entirely different order of understanding on the part of the designer or design team than mere gengineering. This was true of the first neogens, designed with knowledge from genetic and morphological studies of natural species, and it is even more true of the most complex modern neogens, which may have an entirely artificial and novel biochemistry, physiology, and genetic code. Even today, creating the latter is typically the work of a transapient entity, if it is not the work of a very large team of ordinary sophonts.

While many neogens are neumann-capable, reproducing by some means or another just as a naturally evolved biont might, there are also many purpose-built neogens that are infertile. Any replacements for such neogens must be grown. This may be done with a bioforge or vat technology, or alternatively new neogens might be the offspring or fruit of other organisms that are specially designed to produce them. In most parts of the Civilized Galaxy, the design of fertile neogens is constrained by law, custom, or both, since their introduction into existing ecosystems, managed or otherwise, may have harmful unintended consequences. Matching a neogen's traits to a local ecology adds yet another level of complexity to their design, and is often considered a subfield of its own.

Neogenic organisms range in size from the equivalents of viruses and prokaryotes all the way up to gigantic living megahabitats such as orwoods, and in intelligence from subsentient on up to sophont/sapient or even transapient. As to purpose, they may be mundane components of industrial processes, or of a hab's ecosystem, or they may be something more exotic: a pet, a decoration, a servant, or a companion. Those that are, or become, transapient may of course be the masters or leaders of ordinary sophonts rather than the other way around.

Some neogens were designed from the start to be new sophont clades, whereas others have been provolved since their origin by pan-sophontists. These are considered to be a class of sophont being all of their own (see "neogen" under sophonts). In either case this branch of neogenics is more commonly considered a part of provolution technology, and in the Civilized Galaxy such activity falls under some local version of the Universal Bill of Sentient Rights.

 
Articles
  • Amphibian (gengineering) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Human or other species that, although originally only adapted to live in a single environment, has been gen- and/or biomodded to exist in another environment as well; e.g. merpeople.
  • Anandan Flitters  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Small artificial methanovores, shaped like tiny ciliated disks of diamond with vacuum flotation bladders. Developed for the gas giant Ananda. Used as hosts by the local Mirrored Owls.
  • Animadvert  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any of a number of corporate organic life forms, mostly subsapient, which have slogans, logos, and even freebies and consumer liteware incorporated into their genetic structure, and hence expressed in their phenotype and/or secreted or excreted.
  • Autoevolution - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Evolution directed by intelligent beings instead of natural selection.
    Autoevolutionist: Someone who regards autoevolution as desirable; the opposite of a biological fundamentalist.
  • Biontogenics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The science and art of creating biont clades, usually from scratch. Such bionts do not necessarily have to look unusual, they may be typical nearbaseline in appearance for example.
  • Biontogenist - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Term given to sophonts - usually transapients but may be superbright/superturing - who create for business, pleasure, or other motives entire biont clades. Biontogenists may be biological ((nano/synano-)bioborg), cyborg, ai, or even virtuals (assuming the latter have the appropriate physical interfaces).
  • Canopy Plant  - Text by Terrafamilia
    Canopy Plants are neogen plants used in terraforming, paraterraforming, or habitat creation.
  • Carpetbeast  - Text by John B and Stephen Inniss
    Typically an animal-derived neogen or splice designed to thrive as a living carpet or rug, usually for use by human nearbaselines or similar bionts. Some varieties, in addition to being soft and warm, and of a pleasant colour and texture, produce pleasant scents and sounds such as a musky scent and a purr. Most are self-cleaning, sometimes with the assistance of mite to insect sized neogens. These creatures are usually sessile but some variants are capable of slow movement and a few are capable of shaping themselves into items of furniture.
  • Corporate Surrogacy  - Text by Elliot Schutjer
    In the latter half of the Information Age and even well into the early Interplanetary Age, genetic engineering corporations had a problem: they had to find mothers to carry the genetically altered children they produced. Popular vids from the time tell story after story of young women from Asia (Particularly Cambodia and Thailand) being sold into corporate slavery as surrogate mothers for the gengineered children arranged by major corporations, though this practice was simply not as prevalent as popular imagination supposed.
  • Deimarc  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Biological creature designed to induce maximal terror in a given individual or species.
  • Designer Life - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Designer life has existed since the Information Age, starting with glowing rabbits and bacteria with messages hidden in their genomes. Over time the design of new lifeforms as an artistic field has developed into a vast array of schools, approaches and applications. Some designer life correspond to individual artworks, others are intended to be integrated into ecological art, technical applications or even as citizen-artworks.
  • Dimimimon4  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Metasoft Version Tree biont (baseline)-guardian, later Dominion biontogenist, 3512-4126 AT.
  • Dragon (neogen)  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Dragons of many different types have been created using lazurogenic and neogenic techniques, often from crocodile or avian genes.
  • Dura Grass - Text by James Ramsey
    Neogen plant developed as a floor covering. Dura Grass is a mossy grass-like plant that is designed to create a soft spongy surface for walking. It grows to a set height of 1-3 centimetres depending on the species of dura grass. It is highly resistant to low light conditions and thrives easily with minimal tending. Dura grass is also a common replacement for grass in parks and other open areas. It will only grow on a special fabricate like covering preventing it from spreading into local ecologies. It is crush proof and grows quickly, repairing most damage overnight. Absorbs dust and various pollutants aiding most life support systems. It can also be found covering roads and nature trails on many worlds and habitats that allow ground based transportation.
  • Exoatmospheric - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Vehicle or tweaked life-form capable of operating both in a vacuum and in an atmosphere. May be planetary- or space-based.
  • Fast Forward  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Dominion experiment in the creation of a neogenic ecosystem based on neutron matter.
  • Frankenstein Syndrome  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Many of the uninformed believe the story of Frankenstein to be historical. Scholars have in fact identified it as a cautionary tale from the late Industrial Age.
  • GELF  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [Genetically Engineered Life Form] An old First Federation term, which every so often comes back into favour, for sophont custom-made lifeforms created through significant or total genetic engineering.
  • Jurassica Institute of Paleoregeneration  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Although the Jurassica Institute was formerly established during the early Empires period, it's roots go back to First Federation attempts by groups like The Darwin League, Paleobios! and (a little later) Earth History Cooperation, to establish a living museum/zoo of every reconstructible species of organism that inhabited Old Earth, up until the Great Expulsion.
  • Lazurogenics  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The art of resurrecting past species or clades, sometimes as individual specimens but more usually as entire viable populations.
  • Muschine  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and AI Vin
    Subsentient biomachines. Widely used in the Zoeific Biopolity and elsewhere.
  • Neogen - Text by Todd Drashner
    A biological being or species created entirely from scratch rather than by modification of naturally evolved stock. A product of neogenics, the technology of creating life from lifeless materials.
  • Neospecies - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] In Evolution theory - a newly (naturally) evolved species.
    [2] A gengineered species.
  • Ova Fusion  - Text by Shane Brannon; some additions by Steve Bowers
    A form of parthenogenetic reproduction which successfully fuses the genetic material from the gametes of two unrelated human females into a viable zygote.
  • Pantropy  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The practice of adapting humans (and other bionts) to live comfortably in a planetary environment rather than attempting to change that environment to resemble the home world.
  • Pseudolazurogen  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Steve Bowers
    A neogenic reconstruction based on mythology.
  • PsySquid  - Text by Mark Ryherd
    PsySquids (Paratodarodes spp.) a gengineered superclade of species descending from Todarodes pacificus, which produce tailored psychoactive ink
  • Relanimal - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    A relifed animal.
  • Relifing  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Any being or device in the "real world" (RL) that has been created or designed by virtuals.
  • Ruby Marine  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Wide ranging bio-ecotectual AI, created 1043.
  • Teratonics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The art and science of creating monsters, whether for shock value, life-style choice, scientific research, the entertainment industry, or security and defense purposes.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 27 February 2009.