The Cradle was a technological item that was constructed by civilian scientists in the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd century.

Developed sometime in the 2260's, the Cradle was installed at the secret ARK-7 starbase as part of a classified mission given to Doctor Carol Marcus to study the mysteries of life. The device at this point had contained over ten million forms of life patterns that were never seen before. After the end of the Oroborus virus threat, Dr Marcus hoped that someday something wonderful would come from the Cradle. (TOS video game: 25th Anniversary)

Its possible the Cradle was responsible for the accidental creation of the Oroborus virus and may have been an early precursor to the Genesis device.
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