Splicing was the act of mixing and crossing DNA from two or more different species, to produce hybrid/chimera organisms. Commonly, it was done by mixing human DNA with animal genes, so as to enhance the recipient's genetic material. However, there were other forms of splicing, which depended on the specific intended goal.
Although early experiments were conducted in the late 20th century, the slang term "splicing" was not coined until the 2030s.
Some of the earliest experiments in splicing were conducted by Dr. Emile Dorian, a geneticist with a particular fascination with cats. He eventually conceived T-99, a mutagen that formed the base chemical in several other splicing formulas.
The first documented splicing incident was in the early 1990s at the Gotham Zoo bat exhibit. Dr. March believed in bats' evolutionary superiority to humans, and theorized that a man could combine his DNA with that of a bat's, taking on characteristics of that species. Only then, March believed, would humans be in a position to survive the next evolutionary cataclysm.
Dr. March's son-in-law, Dr. Kirk Langstrom, also employed by the Gotham Zoo, was the first to put this theory into practice. By ingesting a mixture of chemicals, Langstrom was able to temporarily transform himself into a half-man, half-bat creature (or Man-Bat, as it was called in the newspapers of the time). Each transformation didn't last long, but Langstrom soon became addicted to the formula and even came to believe that the Man-Bat had its own personality and could act as a separate entity.
Eventually, to preserve its own existence, the Man-Bat started robbing pharmaceutical companies for the chemicals that would keep the transformations occurring. It was at this point that Batman got involved and curtailed the activities of the Man-Bat, managing to restore Langstrom to normal. At the point of Batman's interference, the Man-Bat was one component away from making the condition permanent. However, the precise meaning of "permanent" in this case is unclear, seeing as it could either mean that the transformations would continue on a regular basis without further chemicals, or that Dr. Langstrom's formula was sufficiently advanced that he would never return to full human form again.
Despite the danger of splicing shown by Langstrom's experience, Dr. March continued to work on the formula, developing an even more potent version of it. Then an accident in his laboratory infected his daughter Francine with the formula, making her the second Man-Bat. Horrified and ashamed, March destroyed his research and abandoned the project.
Development and refinement
On a secluded island, Dr. Dorian also continued his experiments, becoming even more successful than either March or Langstrom. Along the branch of the science that involved modifying existing humans, his work included Garth, an ape-man, and an attempt to transform Selina Kyle into a real-life cat-woman. Another branch involved creating entirely original creatures from spliced DNA. An example of this was Tygrus, Dorian's "son", a humanoid wildcat.
Dorian was eventually apprehended and incarcerated, while Tygrus lived alone on the island.
One scientist apparently experimented with splicing, going so far as to turn herself into a humanoid cheetah to prove the effectiveness of her work.
Splicing did not appear again until the 2040s, developed by Dr. Abel Cuvier, among others. Without regulation from the authorities, it was offered to the public and quickly became a popular fad, with applications ranging from cosmetic surgery to physical enhancement. As an example of the former, Chelsea Cunningham underwent splicing to make her eyes resemble those of a cat. As an example of the latter, a man named Raymond was spliced with a ram's DNA, and quickly became stronger and more aggressive. Because of its unproven safety and harmful side effects, the Gotham City District Attorney's office quickly moved to outlaw the practice.
The science went underground, and was sometimes practiced on criminals and gang members. Woof, a member of the Jokerz, underwent the procedure, becoming a human-hyena hybrid, with enhanced speed, strength, and ferocity. In addition, the rock princess Jamie Jerald spliced herself with snake DNA to grant her a snake tongue, which ultimately ended up exposed by Ian Peek.
In some instances, splicing was also used on animals, mixing them with human DNA. The most notorious example of this was Fingers, a Gorilla who was forcibly separated from his mother by James Van Dyle, a poacher posing as an animal conservationalist, who was supplied with modified human DNA and, as a result, had become intelligent beyond regular members of his species and even gradually increased his intelligence.
The terrorist organization Kobra planned to splice humans with dinosaur DNA, creating a new, "superior" race of super-strong, humanoid reptiles.
Sightings and references
- "The Doomsday Sanction" (Mentioned Only)