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In this setting, the family unit is based around a clan system. An individual's wealth and status is related to the clan they are born in, and its ancestry is based on matrilineal lines. Due to certain environmental factors caused by a devastating calamity on the continent, travel between regional areas can be somewhat difficult and expensive. Therefore, most breeding takes place between clans in relative proximity of each other.

Marriage does not exist in the form we would recognize. Women remain in the clan they were born into, while men are the ones who leave the home to join other families. Men marry into clans, which lead to many offspring coming from the same group of fathers. This can unfortunately lead to cases of inbreeding. The solution to this that have become the norm are "genetic peddlers". These merchants go from village to village, collecting sperm and egg samples and selling to the populace of that area. Since most relations occur between villages located near one another, these merchants take their wares to far away locations to keep up diversity in the gene pool. Every sample comes with a bio of the donor from which it came from, as well as other necessary information that individuals would want to know.

As stated, travel between areas is difficult, requiring much preparation before the journey. Technology is scarce and expensive, lacking the sophistication for cryo-preservation. I need an alternative way to store these samples for these journeys for as long as possible. what tools or methods would provide the best outcome to make this happen, while keeping the sample viable for the long term?

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You've solved the problem already

This might sound weird, but the genetic peddlers themselves carry a good dose of fresh non-connected genetic material to all but 1 of the clans. That is to say, themselves. And this in turns leads to the solution of 'send off the males but keep the females.

So, if I'm reading your scenario right, in every offspring generation, the men leave and the women stay. In other words, for a Generation X, the female offspring stay and the male leave. That means that the females get males from other clans. Thus, all the fathers for generation Y must be males from other clans, and thus cannot be directly related to the woman. Generation Y is safe from inbreeding.

I suppose there can be a case of something like:

  1. A Generation 1 couple produces a Gen 2 male and female.
  2. The Generation 2 man fathers a Gen 3 male in the away clan. The Gen 2 female has a Gen 3 female back in the home clan.
  3. The Gen 3 male can head back and form a couple with his Gen 3 cousin back in the first clan.

This could lead to inbreeding.

However, that's going to be rare, and cousin relationship aren't inbreeding problematic unless they happen repeatedly, and even under these circumstances, it shouldn't be hard to direct the incoming Gen 3 male away from his cousin. No need for 'genetic peddlers'.

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    $\begingroup$ Headsup - slightly changed the Gen 1 -> 2 -> 3 section as I had slight trouble following along. I didn't change "it should be hard to direct the incoming Gen 3 male away from his cousin" but I think you might have meant "shouldn't" in there. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Dec 13 '19 at 7:23
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I mean...one way is to read the genetic sequence and store it as data then synthesize it (print it) as required. But you say technology is scarce. It also throws a wrench into your plans of having peddlers going from village to village.

I suppose the answer you're really looking for which would also rank high up there in the dystopia factor is store to implant the eggs in another human to store them (women aren't at cryogenic temperatures after all and seem to store their eggs just fine).

Of course, being able to separate your stock when it's all stored in a fewer number of individuals might be tricky. For more dystopia you could go random draw. If you store eggs from 10 people in the same person, you have a 10% chance of drawing from the donor you are looking for. Draw it, test it, and put it back and draw another if it's not the one you want.

If your technology scarcity does not allow you to test the lineage of eggs on the spot, then make it literally random draw. Higher prices are are fetched for eggs re-extracted from carriers with stocks of eggs from fewer, more reputable clans or individuals. That makes it so if you pay a high price, you are more likely to get what you paid for. If you pay an even higher price so that the carrier only has reputable donors then you have both increased predictability and quality.

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The genetic peddlers find out what type of donors the target group want. They travel back to the other male population and try to find the best matches to the request. The men are then asked to produce sperm samples and as much as they can in a relatively short period. The samples are chilled with ice in a heavily insulated flasks and a preservative medium is then added such as that shown here.

The peddlers then travel back to the women to sell their wares as quickly as possible and while they are there they then take their next orders before returning again.

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  • $\begingroup$ This might violate the 'travel is difficult" criteria of the OP's world. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Dec 13 '19 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ Travel is difficult but not impossible. If travel is impossible then the peddlers are not going anywhere with anything $\endgroup$ – Slarty Dec 13 '19 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the OP specified that these merchants specifically market to villages that are far away from each other and if travel is also difficult, traveling the route thrice for a single "order" so to speak does not seem like it would be believable. Although you might be able to get around this by making it really REALLY worth their while. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Dec 13 '19 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ Well there's no reason why the peddler shouldn't supply multiple orders in one trip, it would just mean ensuring donations and inseminations would each happen in parallel to keep the time down. $\endgroup$ – Slarty Dec 13 '19 at 1:24

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