Genetic modification

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This article is considered accurate for the current version (1.5) of the game.
Climate preference is determined at the genetic level, by eons of evolution or skillful manipulation. - climate preference description
The genetic modification menu.

With the Epigenetic Triggers and Gene Tailoring technologies, it is possible to spend Gene Points on different Species found in the Species View to alter their Traits and Climate Preference.

Gene Points[edit]

The amount of Gene Points you have depends on the species you are attempting to genetically modify. The goal is to either alter an existing species or uplift a pre-sentient one. The primary currency for genetic modification (during uplifting or otherwise) are Gene Points which are hard to come by:

  • when you first research genetic modification all species will gain 1 gene point. Later Genetic Modification techs will increase the gene points you have available for all species.
  • you get only up to 2 additional gene points from techs. So choose wisely how to spend them.
  • leftover trait points from empire creation are translated 1:1 to gene points. That means a species with 5 negative traits could have up to 10 gene points to spend (1 base + 2 Trait Points + 7 extra Trait points). And adding an additional negative trait might give you a extra gene point later on. However, removing negative traits costs gene points too.

Unless you are extremely lucky this technology will come in the mid/late game (depending on the size of the galaxy).

Epigenetic Triggers also unlocks other technology choices which in turn unlock Genetic Engineering themed Armies, Attachments and Policy options.

Genetic alteration[edit]

This is done on already existing sentient species in your empire and allows you to adapt them better to different climates or challenges of the later empire. Genetic Modification allows you to add and remove traits much like through empire creation except you cannot remove positive traits even if they're from a previous genetic modification and you cannot give negative traits. Climate preference can be always be changed for no points provided you have the technology. When you genetically modify a species you can choose which planet(s) where the species resides that you want to apply the changes to.

After you commit to changes a Special Project is added to the Situation Log. It will vanish after 90 days if not started, or if it is interrupted. The cost in Society Research.png society research scales linearly with the number of affected people and number of spent Gene Points.

Just ordering the Genetic Alteration process without actually spending traits points (like changing Habitability or retroftitting the Trait cybernetic.png Cybernetic) costs 200 Social Research per effect Pop. Every trait point spend will increase the cost by 100 Social Reserach per Point per Pop.

Once Gene Tailoring technology is researched, the A New Species event can occur on planets with poor habitability. For details see there.

Species home Planets, Gaia Planets and Habitats make good staging areas for creating a subspecies with a different climate preference as they have a hardcoded 100% habitability. This allows the same species to colonize multiple climates, which can be useful for Xenophobe empires.

The Evolutionary Mastery ascension perk from the biological path permits you to remove positive traits or even add negative ones, allowing a species' traits to be modified indefinitely as the situation arises.


Uplifting only applies to certain "pre-sentient" species that are co-existing on one of your colonies. Generally those species would become sentient on their own, if just given a few million years. The player simply sidesteps that process. All rules for Genetic modification apply, except the following:

  • it requires Epigenetic Triggers, which is outside of the normal Genetic Engineering tech chain.
  • the uplifted species is immediately integrated into the empire that uplifted it.
  • all upliftable species have a special trait that can not be acquired during Empire creation or genetic modification. This trait will make them excel at some jobs far beyond what normal species can do, but often at the downside of making it unsuitable for other purposes.
  • the species will be naturally thankful to the species that raised them and get +20% Mod pop happiness.png happiness if in the same empire as their benefactors. The exact conditions for this are not clear.
  • the species will appear with Neutral Ethos. Quest chains give the uplifting Empire an opportunity to help decide the species' core ethos, or allow them to stand back and let the uplifted species decide for themselves. The species is fully subject to Ethics divergence, with the Happiness bonus often resulting in an indirect boost to divergence.

Species identity[edit]

When a species is intentionally modified, it results in a new Entry in Species list. The resulting species is considered a 'Subspecies' of the original. Subspecies generally do not suffer from Xenophobia towards their baseline species and operate under the same Rights as the original species. Scripts have to explicitly check for Subspecies to detect the case and only rare cases do.

If the primary species vanishes due to Modification, the most numerous species will be choosen as new primary species.

The data on when two species are considered the same base species is conflicting and has been regulary changing with patches. This check is ultimatively defined outside of moddable code, so no absolute answer can ever be given:

  • We do know that same name, portrait and traits definitely count as the same base species. The namelists and (especially) the owning Empire may varry.
  • Some word of the developers indicates that same Name and Portrait will be used to define same base species, wich would mean traits only define subspecies.
  • As of 1.5 savegames contain a new "Identity" Entry for every species. It carries the original name and Portrait, as well as a copy of all the current traits. That would allow detection based on the Original Name and Portrait.

Ascension paths[edit]

Main article: Tradition#Ascension_paths

Certain ascension perks allow further advancing the empire down into one of three available ascension paths:

  • Biological - focuses entirely on genetic modification.
  • Psionic - enables latent abilities in the empire pops and contact with The Shroud.
  • Synthetic - As part of the synthetic ascension path, species that have been enhanced cybernetically can still be modified genetically. However species that were uploaded into synthetic bodies cannot be.

Genetic Modifications in Utopia[edit]

With Banks (1.5), Empire Leaders have greater control and influence over the genetic modifications of their denizens. Investing in Ascension Perks allows you greater options and greater speed.

Ascension Perks

  • Engineered Evolution - Trait Points +2, Modify Species Special Project Cost -50%
  • Evolutionary Mastery - Trait Points +3, Modify Species Special Species Project Cost -25%


  • Genome Mapping - Growth Time -10%
  • Epigenetic Triggers - Unlocks Feature - Uplift
  • Gene Tailoring - Trait Points +1, Unlocks Genetic Modification,, Unlocks Environmental Adaptation, Allows Covert Infiltration with Observation Post
  • Targeted Gene Expressions (Rare) - Trait Points +1
  • Genetic Resequencing (Rare) - Unlocks Genetic Resequencing (Ability to rewrite ALL traits) & Advanced Traits (See Below)

Genetic Modification Planet Preferences

  • Arid | Desert | Savanna
  • Tropical | Continental | Ocean
  • Arctic | Tundra | Alpine


Trait Cost Effect
Agrarian 2 Points +15% Food
Thrifty 2 Points +15% Energy
Industrious 2 Points +15% Minerals
Intelligent 2 Points +10% Engineering/Physics/Society Output
Natural Engineers 1 Point +15% Engineering Output
Natural Physicists 1 Point +15% Physics Output
Natural Sociologists 1 Point +15% Sociology Output
Extremely Adaptive 4 Points Habitability 20%
Adaptive 2 Points Habitability 10%
Nonadaptive -2 Points -10% Habitability
Rapid Breeders 1 Point -10% Growth Time
Slow Breeders -1 Point +10% Growth Time
Talented 1 Point Leader Skill Levels +1
Quick Learners 1 Point +25% Leader Experience Gain
Slow Learners -1 Point -25% Leader Experience Gain
Very Strong 3 Points Army Damage +40%, +10% Minerals
Strong 1 Point Army Damage +20%, +5% Minerals
Weak -1 Point Army Damage -20%, -5% Minerals
Nomadic 1 Point +50% Migration Speed, -25% Resettlement Cost
Sedentary -1 Point -50% Migration Speed, +25% Resettlement Cost
Communal 1 Point +5% Happiness
Solitary -1 Point -5% Happiness
Charismatic 1 Point +5% Other Species Happiness
Repugnant -1 Point -5% Other Species Happiness
Conformists 2 Points +25% Governing Ethics Attraction
Deviants -1 Point -15% Governing Ethics Attraction
Venerable 4 Points +75 Years Lifespan
Enduring 1 Point +15 Years Lifespan
Fleeting -1 Point -10 Years Lifespan
Decadent -1 Point -10% Happiness without Slaves
Resilient 1 Point +100% Garrison Health, +50% Fortification Defensive Bonus
Conservationist 1 Point -20% Consumer Goods Cost

Advanced Traits

Trait Cost Effect
Delicious 3 Points Pop Food Output +100%
Nerve Stapled 3 Points Minerals/Food +10%, Energy/Unity Output -50%, Physics/Engineering/Sociology Output -75%, Not Affected by Happiness
Fertile 4 Points -30% Growth Time, Happiness +5%
Erudite 5 Points +20% Engineering/Physics/Sociology Output, Leader Skills +1
Robust 7 Point +30% Habitability, +30 Years Lifespan


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