Genetic engineering, aka genetic modification, is the process of changing the genome of an organism with biotechnology.
New DNA can be inserted in a host genome, genes can be removed or disabled, and gene targeting uses recombination to change a gene. It can be used to produce custom organisms for e.g. healthcare, agriculture and defense. It is useful on humans to correct genetic disorders which are caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. Genetic enhancements are possible to improve a person's strength, intelligence and senses.
The Guardians' understanding and manipulation of genetics was far more advanced than human science. They used it to eradicate disease, address environmental concerns, and create entirely new organisms for food and war.
Imperial families are known to use genetic engineering. Such as in the family of Kahina Tijana Lauren dark hair was seen as a sign of weakness. The middle daughter Tala had her genes modified to alter her hair colour. Kahina refused this treatment.
Genetic engineering has been legal in the Empire since its founding by Emperor Henson Duval. Female children in the Imperial Family were prevented with genetic techniques, ensuring that all Emperors would be male. Henson claimed that this action was taken due to unspecified defects in his family's genetic line, but centuries later this assertion was discredited after Emperor Hengist Duval ordered an extensive investigation; Hengist used the results to repeal laws that forbade female members of the Duval family from ascending to the Imperial throne. This restriction was gradually phased out over the years.
In 2854, Imperial soldiers instigated martial law on planet New California in Alioth. They attempted to impose a genetic correction programme on the planet. This was prevented by a coup against the military garrison by a new Caker sect and a Federal fleet arrived lead by Admiral Kracer.