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 an 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).
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 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 Cybernetic) costs 0 Social Research per effect Pop. Every traitpoint difference between new and old specie will increase the cost by 50 Social Research per Traitpoint per Pop.
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% 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.
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 chosen as new primary species.
The data on when two species are considered the same base species is conflicting and has been regularly changing with patches. This check is ultimately 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 vary.
- Some word of the developers indicates that same Name and Portrait will be used to define same base species, which would mean traits only define subspecies.