Someone asked me when I thought a new human species might emerge. Did I think it would be 100,000 or 1,000,000 years off? I had a much shorter timeframe – a couple of generations, if we so chose.

Sterling’s “Domination” alternate history series actually provides a good example of this concept, though the rest of the series was described by the author as “if everything that could go wrong, did”. When the Nazis in the novel are the good guys compared to the uber-Nazis of the Draka, you know it is a bad alternate timeline. The Draka themselves knew they needed to be true masters of humanity for their survival, and that required not just conquering everyone but ensuring their descendants were better than everyone. Their solution was genetic engineering of their children to be stronger, faster, smarter, healthier and in every way better than the serfs. Because Draka men had unrestrained sexual access to serf women, the geneticists added some extra chromosomes to prevent unauthorized transmission of superior DNA to serf babies. Their new master race was unable to cross-breed with the rest of humanity. It was, now, a new hominid species. The horror was completed when they figured out, a generation later, how to give serfs an injection to create servile serfs.

Science fiction is replete with stories of engineered super-soldiers, some rebelling against their creators, some struggling for freedom within the system, some only reporting on what exists or rising within the ranks of their society. Given the likely problems for any resulting offspring if genetically engineered super-soldiers passed on some of those genes to willing or unwilling sperm recipients (hat tip George Carlin), expect any engineered super soldiers to be genetically incompatible with humans if fertile at all. “Brenda”, a short story set in the Co-Dominium universe, is a rare exception in this case. And even she had to have a son die because he was too much a soldier compared to her more human children.

Another way this would happen is under the guise of intellectual property rights. You may have paid a million dollars for that designer baby, but the lab may prohibit them from being able to reproduce without permission. They could even cite the negative health effects of random mixing of artificial or enhanced genes. The solution is straightforward – genetic tweaks to ensure that the perfect creature can’t make more of itself without paying its own fee to the lab to take a designer baby home. However, this isn’t going to happen with the genetic fixes like mitochondria injections happening now; we don’t have that level of control yet, and there are no ethical problems with someone whose genetic disorder is replaced with healthy genes mixing them with the rest of the population.

No matter how it occurs, any genetically engineered human who is unable to naturally cross-breed with mainline humans is a representative of a new species. And that could happen as soon as the first generation of genetically enhanced children arrives.


Check out Tamara Wilhite’s Amazon Author Page and see her on Hubpages.

Photo by Cargo Cult