Victor Frank, and his wife Marsha, are unable to have a second child due to Marsha's infertility. They turn to surrogacy as an alternate method of conception. Victor, an obstetrician-gynaecologist and owner of the biochemical company Chimera Inc., injects the egg implanted in his wife with an agent called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) into chromosome six, which causes the baby to grow more neurons than usual, as a result making them super intelligent. Their son, VJ (Victor Junior), is born a genius. He is able to talk in six months and read in thirteen. Victor wonders if his experiment was a mistake.
Several years later, VJ's brother, David, and nanny, Janice, both die of an unexplainable rare form of liver cancer. At about three, VJ experiences a drop in intelligence, leading Victor to think his experiment is a failure. VJ is not a genius anymore. VJ lives a secluded life from that point, leading his psychiatrist mother to worry, to the annoyance of Victor who believes VJ is fine. When VJ turns eleven, a disastrous chain of events begins. Victor had injected two other eggs with NGF, which were given to two families who work at Chimera through the fertility clinic there. They both inexplicably die at age three because of brain edema. Victor later finds out they had been given the antibiotic Cephaloclor, which causes the nerve cell growth process to begin again. This causes their brains to grow too large for their skulls, killing them. Their parents, however, were told their children had deadly allergies to this antibiotic.