The Founders enhanced the Jem'Hadar from their original violent beginnings as orcish lifeforms. The Jem'Hadar today are a genetically engineered race of elite fighters, imprinted with blind obedience to the Vortas and particularly to the Founders, whom they regard as Gods and superior beings. Few Jem'Hadar have actually seen the Founders, and though most do live their lives out with absolute loyalty to the Founders, some have been known to revolt against their slave existence, which led to the development of their dependence on Ketracel White. In line with their function as fighting machines, the Jem'Hadar are known for their tremendous physical endurance and zealous enthusiasm for combat. To keep the focus of Jem'Hadar fighters on their work, the Founders have made the entire species male, thus rendering them incapable of natural procreation and possibly deviations from the original blueprint due to DNA mutation. They possess a natural ability to cloak themselves, do not sleep, do not eat, do not relax, and their every victory is glory for the Founders.

The Jem'Hadar live for war and victory, as their mantra "Victory is life!" suggests, but their lifespan is short: they are engineered for accelerated growth and rarely live pass the age of 20, at which stage the Jem'Hadar is considered an honored elder. The blood chemistry of the Jem'Hadar is designed to collapse without regular intake of an isogenic enzyme, Ketracel White, an additional guarantee of their loyalty to the Founders. Born within a birthing chamber, a Jem'Hadar infant will reach full adulthood within 3 days, ready to fight and vulnerable to the addiction to "white". White cannot be reproduced through regular means, only handed out by their commanding Vortas. Jem'Hadars that go without the white will experience severe withdrawal and eventually die. Before death, they will slaughter any and all living creatures around to bring as many to the grave as they can. Their various functions, such as cloaking, will also gradually come to an end.

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