Building in Beyond Earth
As colonial research progressed in the field of artificial evolution, thousands of projects to create utilitarian adaptive species were undertaken – something of an “evolution” race between the settlements. At the heart of this competition were the progenitor gardens, specialized laboratories-cum-nurseries. Given the curious properties of xenomass – especially its contribution to homologous gene recombination in endogenous genes, producing single-generation point mutation(s) – progenitor gardens required it in quantity to produce targeted evolution in select species of flora. While there were other approaches to experimental evolution, none were as effective or rapid as those methods using the pervasive “ooze” to create first-gen progenitors. For those settlements capable of building such gardens, the new species – once stabilized and self-reproducing – offered enormous benefits in terms of food, feed and pharmaceutical production. Among the most successful adaptive crops created in the progenitor gardens are thuringiensis corn, myco-canola, gen-papaya, xeno-soybeans and PGN (polygalacturonase) tomatoes, all with some significant health and curative properties. Several settlements have managed to turn their progenitor gardens into sources of barter for resources in scarce supply within their territory, establishing a trade in adaptive species with other settlements. Although there is some debate concerning the long-term risks versus benefits of these created species, the search for new ones continues apace in the progenitor gardens.