Project Skuld: Terra
Human – Standard birth cycle or IVF without modifications. Selection of gametes for specific traits, for example to select gender or avoid hereditary disease, is not considered “modification”. As long as the germ line is not artificially modified, the result is considered “human”.
Enhanced Human – Modified with bionic macro hardware (uncommon), nanotech implanted hardware (rare), or phage therapy (common). These modifications are performed after birth, frequently during adulthood. Phage therapy is performed for functional (increased intelligence, improved physical abilities) and aesthetic (change hair/eye/skin color) purposes. These modifications tend to be more successful when performed early in life, but due to individual differences in genetic content and expression, no phage therapy is guaranteed to be effective.
Engineered Human or Clone – Modified as a zygote or during early embryogenesis. Early on, “clones” were generally replicas of individual living humans, and engineering was done on newly derived zygotes, whether cloned or unique. However, individual variation made the results of engineering somewhat unpredictable. The development of fully totipotent immortalized cell lines, clonal lines that could be used to produce innumerable identical zygotes, was a major breakthrough. Today, most engineered humans are based on one of a few dozen well-studied cell lines and are technically “clones” as well as “engineered”. In common parlance, regardless of their actual genetic origin, all engineered humans are referred to casually as “clones”.
Engineered humans are frequently subject to planned obsolescence, where the natural lifespan of the body has been truncated to 20 – 40 years, though this is not always true depending on the desired function of the clone. All engineered humans should be infertile; this is legally required as part of manufacture, though a rare fertile clone has slipped through quality control.
CloneRights – Legally, engineered humans/clones are considered property of the manufacturing corporation and do not possess the rights of a full human. Within the Union of Nations, clones are generally treated as human, though this is cultural rather than legal. The Clone RIghts movement seeks to grant engineered humans the same basic human rights as standard and enhanced humans. Though there is a great deal of resistance from corporations, within the Union of Nations, Clone Rights has become a major political platform.