Building in Beyond Earth
The use of 3D printers to create living biological tissue had become commonplace on Old Earth before the Seeding among the developed nations, although it was an expensive and delicate process. In organ printers, special cartridges are filled with a suspension of cellular material of the proper type in a “smart gel”; a lattice of cells and gel is produced by nozzles. Once the cells have fused together to form tissue and cell fission has begun, the heat-sensitive gel is cooled and washed away. While the technology was known at the time of planetfall, as with many Old Earth technologies it was some decades until colonial settlements had the resources to devote to utilize organ printing. Hastening the process, however, was the discovery that the undifferentiated eukaryotic myxogastria of xenomass could replace the gel. Also, colonial scientists found that replacing the organ cells with stem cells in the process gave more flexibility to the production of tissue, provided that proper DNA sequences were injected beforehand. While some of the production of colonial organ printing complexes was devoted to replacing diseased and damaged human and animal tissues, an increasing amount was given over to tissue engineering of organs for augmenting or modifying human beings. Once a biologic construct was found to be beneficial or advantageous, a step towards transhumanity or posthumanity, organ printers could produce it in quantity for transplanting or implanting in the general populace of the colony.