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I remember reading a series of short stories published in one of the main magazines in the late 70's or 80's. The stories were about a crashed colony, which had ended up on a planet with a lot of heavy metals, and were terraforming by using chimeras, formed by DNA recombining. The first story referenced Dragon's Teeth, and the title had something to do with that.

The crash had resulted in the loss of a lot of information, so the survivors were trying to reconstitute the lost information. The colonists were named after their occupations, so the main protagonist was first name (I've forgotten) Hunter. She was tracking down the chimeras, which were the results of inadvertent DNA changes as a result of the environment. The original animals had the DNA for other animals hidden, but supposedly locked up until needed.

In the first story, the Hunter is tracking wild pigs which are rooting up crops. In the later stories, we are introduced to someone named Mother, who is raising all the kids, no matter who the parents are, some sort of scholar who is trying to learn how to control the DNA adaptations, and various animals who are mixed up because the DNA changes are not being properly made. By the end of the stories, the Hunter is changing her name to Teacher (I think). There was an indication in the magazines that the stories were going to be released either as a collection or rewritten into a novel. I would love to find that!

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I'm going to guess Mirabile by Janet Kagan, which is a fix-up novel of several short stories. The stories include:

  • The Loch Moose Monster (1989)
  • The Return of the Kangaroo Rex (1989)
  • The Flowering Inferno (1990)
  • Getting the Bugs Out (1990)
  • Raising Cane (1991)
  • Frankenswine (1991)

When humanity sent generation ships to colonize the planet Mirabile, the cargo included seed banks and cryopreserved embryos of every Earth species the colonists might need, genetically engineered to produce more Earth species on cue. However, many of the instructions were lost en route, and decades after arrival, the genetically-engineered fauna and flora are still causing problems — both by themselves, and in conflicts with native Mirabilan biota.
-Wikipedia

It's a colony threatened by mixed-up animals and plants. As you might guess from the story titles, they are humorous.

According to ISFDB, they were originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction magazine.


"The Loch Moose Monster" does indeed contain a reference to Dragon's Teeth:

I clambered down the steps to Elly's lodge, still gawking at the scenery, so I was totally unprepared for the EC in the lobby. If that bright-eyed geneticist back on Earth put the double-whammy on any of the human genes in the cold banks they sent along (swore they hadn't, but after the kangaroo rex, damnify believe anything the old records tell me), the pandemonium I found would have been enough to kick off Dragon's Teeth by the dozens.

2
  • Yes, this has to be it. I have the book Mirabile and it matches the description in the question. I can post quotes if required. Sep 17 '18 at 11:19
  • Yes! That’s it! Thank you.
    – Janietta
    Sep 18 '18 at 2:22

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