|Canon Article: This information is considered to be official and authoritative in the Chakat Universe.|
Genetic engineering is the application of medical science to the design and creation, or modification, of existing species and individuals. For example, chakats, skunktaurs, foxtaurs and all morph species on Earth are instances of genetic engineering.
Genetic engineering can do many things, depending on how much money one is willing to spend. However, there are certain absolute limits. For example, it is impossible to genetically engineer a change from a bipedal species to a taur species; it's simply not doable. One of many reasons is that 'taurs have significantly more mass than bipeds; just look at chakats. Chakats stand about the same height as the average adult human female, but mass about twice to three times as much.
Here are some examples of what can be done via genetic engineering:
- A female of a bipedal species undergoing an engineered species change can have that change affect not just her but her offspring; the change can include re-writing the genetic coding of her ova. Similarly, a male biped could have his testicular tissue affected in a similar manner, as Karl Whitepaw did in Life's Dream.
- A sex change cannot be accomplished by genetic engineering. However, genetic engineering does provide the tools to grow replacement organs, so it would be possible to have suitable and genetically-matched organs for the opposite sex grown and transplanted. This is how it would be possible for someone who wished to become a herm might manage the process. This also implies that a species change could encompass a sex change as well; once the species change was complete, the new sex organs would be grown from the new genetic template and surgically transplanted.
Such treatments are NOT inexpensive. It is unknown what was the cost of Karl's treatment, but in Star Dancer, it is revealed that Liska Sharpears underwent both a species change (human to fox morph) and a sex change (male to female), and it is unknown if she is able to reproduce as such. Nevertheless, this process cost somewhere around two million credits..
One implication of the two points above is that with sufficient funds and time, it would be possible to combine surgical techniques and genetic engineering to change both sex and race, and have those changes perpetuate genetically - i.e., a human male changed to a foxmorph female, able to conceive and bear foxmorph children. However, this would likely be even more expensive than Liska's procedure which was, so far as is known, did not extend to making her fertile. And, as noted above, it would be limited to biped-to-biped conversions.