If your parents couldn’t - or didn’t - spend the money to upgrade your genome, what can you change? Turns out, quite a few things.
Biotech categorizes these into a total of six different categories, which I’ll summarize shortly.
This starts of with bodysculpting, which mostly is a collection of things to change the looks of a body. Changing your face, hair transplantation, weight, exaggeration of male and female sexual characteristics (I’m sure most of us have received emails promising that, although for significantly less than the $5,000 in BioTech), height change, fingerprint removal, etc. Archwork is a fairly strange mod, changing feet such that one always walks on toes. So’s Xenosculpting (but you’ve got to keep anthropomorphic cats in-setting, apparently). Xenosculpting, like the exotic hair graft, certainly will be used in some social groups, but not generally. So will the muscle graft, by the way, but probably not with more serious people - it seems all-out shoddy work. Testicle Tuck, I should add, suffers from the same issues as most cyberware: Sure, you can pay $4,000 and spend two weeks recovering to move your testicles inside the body. Or you pay $10 for external protection.
Arguably more interesting for a setting are the improvements in Sex Change operations: With a complete sex change available (i.e. including the ability to become pregnant), people will be able to enjoy the gender they identify with. It’s expensive (at $30k or $100k depending on direction), so the scenario mentioned in the introduction (“It’s fashionable for hetero parents to swap sexes after each child, so they can both have a try at being pregnant.”) does not seem to likely, seeing as it sets the parents back by $130k. There’ll doubtlessly be cases where that happened, though. Also, the Hermaphromorphic Surgery won’t be available in-setting; that sounds too implausible for realistic TL10.
These are similar to cyberware, but self-healing and self-maintaining, which is quite nice. But they’re not as capable, of course.
A few are useful for civilians: The Eye Upgrade is mostly a cure for vision-related disadvantages (plus several level of acute vision). Blindness is such a huge disadvantage that this will definitely become some sort of standard. The boosted heart is more implausible: At $15,000 (and with heart surgery), non-adaption seems likely.
One of the most useful things, on the other hand, seems to be the Spleen Augmentation: At only $5,000, it grants people +8 to resist disease. Most health insurances would probably love this!
The kidney and liver upgrades would probably be used for both replacement (as an alternative to dialysis, for example) and might be used for extreme sports/survival for the former, and jobs where excessive drinking is necessary for the latter.
A few more are rather more useful for soldiers: The bio-booster would be useful if ST still were; as it is, why would you use it? Similar for muscle reinforcements: Might be useful for covert operations, but I’m guessing they’re detectable. The hyper-lungs, though, are useful not because of breath-holding (double time for holding your breath; take a breathing apparatus instead), but because of the filter lung property: Less need to wear cumbersome gas masks.
Lastly, neural augmentation seems similarly non-critical: $110,000 for faster reaction times (basic speed +3.00), but require a mitigator to function normally. Gun-bunnies might buy that, but most won’t. Oh, and I don’t really believe in the effectiveness of Pheromone Glands, so they’re out.
Polykeratin Grafts and Xenotransplant
This is another word for switchable tissue, and is a collection of such useful things as a switchable arm blade, an extendable jaw, or a wolf-form alternate stance. The only thing that might be useful is the disguise, but that’ll only last for a few minutes anyway.
Similarly for Xenotransplants, and that’s why I’m keeping them in one section. A tail graft might be used in some circles (although it’s expensive), but the remainder are either cosmetic or useless (a gang with a unicorn horn, really?).
Now for the ethically interesting mods: The lobotomy is pure evil (and obsolete at higher TLs), but their replacements aren’t much nicer. Killjoy and psychosurgery are at best very dark gray; hotshotting might be better if used with permission. Other than that, Brain Tissue Grafts seem strange (bulging forehead, really?), and myelin replacement (to avoid high-pressure effects) limited but worth it to some people. And sleepless is, while expensive, really useful. If it were available, I’d buy it (though $40k is really steep and puts it out of reach for many).
Now for the last part! Genetic surgery collects a few different procedures: Curative procedures like gene therapy (widely used), the emotional regulator (some might use it, and despite the description not saying anything I could imagine it might be useful for people suffering from depression or mania). Cancer elimination and its improvement of Radiation Damage Repair are expensive but no more than today’s procedures. And the latter will be a mandatory procedure for people hit with particle beams (if they survive for more than a few hours). There’s also correcting gamete production and vaccination; and angiogenesis is a secondary procedure after heart attacks.
There’s also the Bone Marrow Upgrade, which mostly grants some resistance against disease and very rapid healing, and the cosmetic metabolic reset.
Lastly, one of the apparently most game-changing procedure hides in this category: Mutation Repair. Restoring IQ and HT lost to aging (and ST and DX with physiotherapy) is useful, but more importantly, it resets cellular age to about 20. Just to repeat that: As long as you pay $100,000 and suffer from two weeks of recovery every 30 years (starting with 50), you don’t age anymore. That’s huge!
All in all, many of the procedures will be available; their restriction isn’t technological but rather one of usefulness: Most are just too expensive to be too useful, or are doing the wrong things (the use of striking ST for a soldier would be quite doubtful even today).
Mutation Repair stands out, and I’ll need to write another post on aging and life extension at some point.