“Blood Trade” was the name given to the commercial exchange of Sapphirean (and Republicker) blood for money; a trade that flourished throughout the Perseus Quadrant in the 74th and 75th Solar Century.
The trade originated upon the discovery that the blood of Sapphirean and Republicker colonists contained valuable healing and restorative properties. Transfused into injured and wounded patients, it greatly enhanced their healing abilities. Transfusion of Sapphirean blood also cured many diseases and provided immunity against others. Healers on many of the worlds in the Quadrant began to keep stores of Sapphirean/Republicker blood on hand for use in surgical operations and treatments. Expectant mothers discovered that injections of the blood resulted in offspring of superior strength and resilience.
Sapphireans who visited or emigrated to other colonies discovered their blood was immensely valuable and began selling it on any planet where it was legal to do so. Some Sapphireans discovered they could earn a prosperous living on some worlds simply by selling their bloods. This was not legal on all worlds, but worlds where the blood trade was legal attracted a number of Sapphirean and Republicker colonists.
Republickers were banned by law from selling their own blood, and the trade was banned on most of the New Commonwealth world. However, Republickers could get around the ban simply by emigrating to worlds where the practice was legal.
The trade had its origins in the distant pass; in the original efforts of humans to colonize the galaxy. Even Earth-like planets required their inhabitants to receive gene therapy to adapt their bodies to the environment; otherwise, allergic reactions would have quickly killed the new colonists. As humans moved out into the galaxy, the need arose to genetically alter colonists to suit their new worlds resulted in a vast expansion of the knowledge of, and ability to alter, the human genome.
Also, because human birth rates could not support the aggressive colonization of the Milky Way, many colonies… particularly those in the remote Perseus and Carina Quadrants, required mass production of humans grown artificially. (Worlds Apart Short Story – “The Pioneers”) Genetic engineering was employed to enhance these embryos as they gestated en route to their planets; making them stronger, smarter, and more disease resistant.
Late in the Commonwealth Era, it was discovered that the genetically enhanced humans sent to other colonies contained a genetic flaw with the potential to make the human race extinct within 10,000 years. The White Plague was bioengineered to prevent this by rendering genetically enhanced humans sterile. However, descendants of batch 88-000-88 of the genetic experiment had unusual levels of resistance to the White Plague. Batch 88-000-88 was predominantly sent to the planets Sapphire and Republic.
The trade persisted into the 75th Solar Century. By that time, the Sapphirean/Republicker blood type had become common on human-inhabited worlds throughout the galaxy.