Designer Babies/Playing With

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Basic Trope: Genetically-engineered offspring

  • Played Straight: Alice and Bob seek out the help of the local Mad Scientist to create a "super baby".
  • Exaggerated: The resultant embryo has genes that code for supernatural powers, as well as being extraordinarily gifted.
  • Inverted: Alice and Bob seek out the help of the local Mad Scientist to create an Anti-Sue.
  • Justified: Alice and Bob are carriers of a serious genetic condition (such as Tay-Sachs disease or Huntington's disease or Cystic Fibrosis), and are seeking to use Lego Genetics to not pass those genes onto their kids. They only want to modify those genes, not to create "super babies."
  • Subverted: Alice and Bob seek only genetic counseling.
  • Double Subverted: But then decide that with some of the long-term health risks in their family, that they'd better find themselves someone who knows a thing or two about Lego Genetics.
  • Deconstructed:
    • With all these "super babies" running around, that could have negative effects on natural population. Furthermore, these genetic modification techniques would be very expensive; only wealthy people could afford to have "super babies." And then these "super babies" end up outclassing "normal" children and gaining an advantage over them. It's Social Darwinism all around. It could also be used by an evil government to homogenize society to create a "perfect" race
    • Everyone tries to make their offspring corporate executives and that leads to there being no actual workers
    • Despite being genetically modified, Alice and Bob's child is still imperfect physically and mentally due to their upbringing and experiences. Nurture ends up prevailing over nature.
    • The process is technologically possible, however no genetic engineer is willing to perform it for fear of the potential consequences if the traits fail to manifest or the genetic tampering causes unforeseen problems down the line.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Strict laws are enacted (and enforced) that dictate when, where, and how Lego Genetics are to be used. (i.e. they are used to get rid of genetic diseases, not to create "super babies" or homogenize society. Everyone has advantages and disadvantages, like normal.
    • The "perfect" race actually does end up working out pretty well.
  • Parodied: Determining the "desirable" traits is done on a sheet of paper and with a roll of a die, much like in Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Lampshaded:
  • Averted: No babies are genetically modified at any time, either during conception or growth.
  • Enforced: "We need to create a futuristic Sci Fi setting that is somewhat of a Crap Saccharine World."
  • Invoked: Someone invents genetic modification techniques and/or artificial growth media for human embryos.
  • Exploited: Alice and Bob seek to create the "perfect" child.
  • Defied: Alice and Bob decide that this is unethical and/or not practical, and decide to just let nature take its course. If the child has a genetic disease, they'll deal with it.
  • Played For Laughs: Alice and Bob create Punnett squares...on the first date.
  • Played For Drama: A "normal" child from a poor family must compete in a world populated by Designer Babies from old money.

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