In 1934, the U.S. Government established a national park in the Florida Everglades through the envision of conservationist Ernest F. Coe in an attempt to protect the delicate ecosystem it harbored from increasing human activity. Fourteen years later, in 1947, the park was dedicated to President Harry Truman.
Currently the Everglades National Park protects over one million acres throughout Dade, Monroe and Collier counties in Florida. It is a rich ecosystem containing more than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fish, 40 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles.
The Everglades was an ideal location to establish a biological research facility. During the 1960s, a period in American history of boosted scientific advancement including the invention of birth control pills and exploration of our moon, a division of the U.S. Government, the United States Pathological Research Association (USPRA), established a subdivision in the Everglades National Park focusing on the study of biological disease. Specifically, that is the study of viral, bacterial, prion and fungal infectious agents. This new division, the Florida Pathogenic Disease Analysis Department (FPDAD) of the USPRA, was staffed with the best scientists in their respective fields.
The initial facility contained several compartments all constructed beneath the ground, hidden within the heart of the Everglades. A small structure, resembling a stilted shack, rose out of the water through which staff would enter the facility. An elevator would take them several yards underground to a decontamination chamber which anyone entering or exiting the facility would need to process themselves through. Beyond the decontamination chamber was the laboratory itself, as well as living accommodations and a central bath house and dining hall for the staff. The laboratory was a large chamber, with a reinforced glass ceiling supported by stainless steel framework. This would give people working in the lab a view of the murks above them. Often could be seen alligators and fish swimming in the water. The facility had a complex HVAC system with several large ventilation exhausts breaching the surface around the swamp in order to circulate a constant flow of fresh oxygen through the facility.
Though a subdivision of the U.S. Government, the FPDAD was not closely monitored and functioned independently. Lab rats were used to test antidote and cure formulas created for diseases under study by the scientists, so the laboratory harbored all the necessary equipment to practice basic biological engineering. As well as experimenting on the record, the scientists had tendencies to work off the record practicing genetic manipulation on their lab rat subjects. Results quickly turned up varied phenotypically mutated rats: furless rats, tailless rats, eyeless rats, limbless rats, rats with stunted growth, rats with boosted growth, rats with polycephaly and rats with rearranged internal organ systems among other varieties. Initially, many mutated rats did not survive long or even make it through embryonic development, however there were a few successful results which were kept and studied. Building upon the results of successful experiments, the scientists focused on improving their own genetic manipulation abilities and eventually most experimentation turned up positive.
In the late 1970s, the scientists of the FPDAD requested an architectural expansion of their facility on the justification that they required improved accommodations in order to progress their research on biological disease. What they really wanted was an expanded horizon for experimenting off the record. The USPRA granted their request and an expansion to the facility was completed in the early 1980s. A menagerie as well as additions to the laboratory including incubation chambers, synthetic embryonic development (SED) tanks and a hyperbaric chamber were added as extensions to the facility.
Pigs were imported to the facility and kept in the menagerie as test subjects. There were several areas of biological engineering the scientists aimed to improve on. They were skilled at genetic manipulation, however they needed to further study mentality and how to manipulate cognition and instinct as well as investigating other areas of bioengineering such as genetic splicing; introducing foreign deoxyribonucleic acid into a subject of interest for hybridization. Also a priority was studying procreation. Despite efforts to create new forms of life through genetic manipulation, the scientists had yet to create stable reproductive forms of life. Especially with investigation of genetic splicing on their agenda, the scientists would need to develop a synthetic gene formula that would override biological restrictions hindering the reproduction of artificially-produced life forms. Once a successful formula was created, the scientists would not only be capable of creating new and bizarre creatures via genetic manipulation and splicing, but those creatures would be able to breed.
While an effective synthetic gene formula was being developed, the scientists began to practice genetic splicing on the pigs and lab rats. Initially results were unsuccessful, embryos would not develop properly with introduced genetic splices. The scientists had to complete a prototype synthetic gene formula in order to produce successful hybrids. The final product was a microscopic ribonucleic acid substitute rewriting the genetic code and allowing for synthesis of foreign and native deoxyribonucleic acid during development of an embryo. The scientists would now be able to successfully produce hybrids from embryos implemented with this new prototype formula, which they dubbed SGF-P for "Synthetic Gene Formula Prototype" or simply P-Formula for "Prototype Formula." Experiments quickly turned up results. The scientists began with simple genetic splices, such as swapping pig and rat phenotypes, producing pigs with rat tails, pigs with claws, rats with hooves, pigs with rat teeth, pigs with a thicker coat of white fur, rats with pig noses and pig ears among other weird varieties.
By the late 1980s the synthetic gene formula intended to override biological restrictions hindering the reproduction of artificially-produced life forms was completed. The SGF-S, "Synthetic Gene Formula Solution" (or simply "The Solution"), proved successful after testing it on hograts. The so-called hograt had the most spliced genetics of any experiment thus far: the body, tail and limbs of a rat with internal organs including digestive tract, circulatory system and respiratory system more reminiscent to those of a pig. It also had the skull structure of a rat, but the ears and nose of a pig as well as very keen senses. Hograts typically grew to be 12-24 inches long, including the tail, and would eat anything. The SGF-S specimens escaped their containments in the menagerie and began to breed in the facility's ventilation system. The scientists had successfully created their first bioengineered reproductive life form.
Once the scientists had accomplished most of the necessary feats of bioengineering, they incited to get creative and experiment with more than pigs and rats.