Poderia ser " Sims " de F. Paul Wilson? O cronograma de publicação corresponde ao tema está no local (mas não me lembro se o término da torção que você descreveu foi usado). E a capa estava escura.
Just a few hundred genes separate humans from chimpanzees. Imagine someone altering the chimp genome, splicing in human genes to increase the size of the cranium, reduce the amount of body hair, and enable speech. What sort of creature would result?
Sims takes place in the very near future, when the science of genetics is fulfilling its vaunted potential. It's a world where dangerous or boring manual labor is gradually being transferred to "sims", genetically altered chimps who occupy a gray zone between simian and human. The chief innovator in this world is SimGen, which owns the patent on the sim genome and has begun leasing the creatures worldwide.
But SimGen is not quite what it seems. It has secrets . . . secrets beyond patents and proprietary processes . . . secrets it will go to any lengths to protect.