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"Why does a creative person create? It's a type of compulsion. I like to explore new ideas."
- Bart Kosko

Tectogenetic  
  Deliberate manipulation of genes to produce unique species.  

Probably the earliest (and clearest) statement of this idea in science fiction (and possibly elsewhere).

You take living chromosomes, break them down into their separate genes and preserve the genes alive in pure culture [...] Then you rebuild the chromosomes into a new pattern and implant them in denucleated germ cells. From then on it's a simple matter of gestation -- or seed formation if you're working with plants -- in vitro.
From Crisis in Utopia, by Norman L. Knight.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1940
Additional resources -

Compare to genetic engineering from Jack Williamson's Dragon's Island.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Crisis in Utopia
  More Ideas and Technology by Norman L. Knight
  Tech news articles related to Crisis in Utopia
  Tech news articles related to works by Norman L. Knight

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