In the Next Generation Episode Unnatural Selection it is revealed that the Darwin Genetic Research Station was involved in human genetic modification. But in the Deep Space Nine episode Doctor Bashir, I Presume it is revealed that genetic engineering is outlawed in the Federation.

So why was it that the crew of the Enterprise did not react to the fact that the Darwin Station was working on human genetics? Especially when it was found out that they had created children that were the cause of a deadly disease.

Obviously the facts presented in DSN were not in effect during TNG, but was there any retcon reason given for this?

  • Because the point of the episode was a different one. The writers wanted to make a different observation. – bitmask Sep 5 '12 at 0:20

The topic of Genetic Engineering seems pretty wide in the Federation. There's two examples of legal applications of genetic engineering from that page:

  • By the 24th century, the United Federation of Planets allowed limited use of genetic engineering to correct existing genetically-related medical conditions. (Either TNG 7x19 Genesis or DS9 5x16 Doctor Bashir, I Presume; the reference isn't clear)
  • In some cases, genetic engineering can be permitted to be performed in utero when dealing with a developing fetus to correct any potential genetic defects that could handicap the child as they grew up. (VOY 5x19 The Fight)

Note that both of these are about making people healthier - not better. This is perfectly in line with what the Darwin Genetic Research Station was supposed to have been doing. The children on the station were guilty of nothing more than an overactive immune system. Their weaponization was an accident.

The ban is primarily meant to prevent people like Khan from being created, after all, so using it for health reasons seems like it would be highly regulated, but not illegal.

Memory Alpha includes a theory that what happened at the research station caused a crackdown in the Federation with regards to genetic manipulation, restricting it even further than it was before. However, except for the existence of the station, I don't think there's anything that really supports that theory.

  • @DVK Genetic engineering (retconned from (or combined with?) TOS's selective breeding) was what created the Augments, Khan included. They were the cause of the Eugenics Wars - it was their grab for power on Earth in the mid 1990s. To quote one of the in-universe scientists that created the Augments, "superior ability breeds superior ambition." – Izkata Sep 5 '12 at 1:40
  • @DVK I posted the answer then edited that line in like a minute later, before the edit history would've showed up. Maybe you managed to open this page in that tiny interim? – Izkata Sep 5 '12 at 10:53
  • @Izkata The children on the station also matured faster (the 12 year old child teleported onto the Enterprise was physically more like a tween) and they were also telepathic. Neither of those traits would have contributed much to overall health (aside from possible side benefits of becoming an adult earlier). – Xantec Sep 11 '12 at 20:08
  • “Memory Alpha includes a theory that what happened at the research station caused a crackdown in the Federation with regards to genetic manipulation” — that wouldn’t have affected the Bashir plot though, as he was 24 in 2365 (when the events of *Unnatural Selection occurred), whereas he underwent his illegal genetic engineering at the age of 7. – Paul D. Waite Feb 22 '14 at 18:47

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