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This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.
Every species can be radically changed through genetic or cybernetic modification
See also: Traits

Population modification refers to the process of altering a population's traits either to change its habitability, create subspecies suited for different tasks or improving it after unlocking more trait points through research. Both organic and robotic pops can be modified and each has its own set of traits. In addition, a small number of events can modify the population of a colony.

Species with the Trait clone soldier.png Clone Soldier or Trait clone soldier ascendant.png Clone Soldier Ascendant trait cannot be genetically modified.

Trait points and PicksEdit

The two primary limiters to how many traits in what combination one can have are the Trait Points and Trait Picks. The first contact with both is on the species creation screen. Various technologies add additional Trait Points but Trait Picks are always capped at 5, except for hybrid species which have 6. In Utopia traits given by ascension paths do not count towards either limit.

Species templatesEdit

The genetic modification menu.

Population modification is done via templates. Templates can be applied to pops residing on a planet or to the entire species, previously modified or not. Modified pops are considered part of the same species as the original even if the name and portraits have been changed. However, it is possible to set different rights for templates and its parent species.

Templates with zero current pops can be freely modified or deleted. However, the ones with at least one pop cannot be changed, and the template modification window presents only the option to create a new one.

After a template has been applied a special project to start modifying the selected pops will appear in the situation log. The project will timeout in 30 days if not started. Depending on the kind of modification, how severe the modification (total amount of trait point differences), and how many pops were picked, this special project can be very expensive in science.

The system is currently designed towards favoring bulk modification of many traits over specific via a high base cost.

Type Genetic Mechanical Machine
Unlocked by   Glandular Acclimation for climate preference
  Gene Tailoring for adding positive and removing negative traits
  Genetic Resequencing for removing positive and adding negative traits
  Machine Template System   Machine Template System
  • 3000   Society Research
  • +5 per affected Pop
  • +20 per affected Pop per Trait Point Difference between the old and new Templates
  • +60 per affected Pop if climate preference is changed
  • −25% for   Engineered Evolution ascension perk
  • −25% for   Evolutionary Mastery ascension perk
  • 1500   Engineering Research
  • +20 per affected Pop
  • +40 per affected Pop per Trait Point Difference between the old and new Templates
  • −50% for   Synthetic Evolution ascension perk
  • 1500   Engineering Research
  • +20 per affected Pop
  • +40 per affected Pop per Trait Point Difference between the old and new Templates
  • −33% for   Synthetic Age ascension perk
Trait Points
  •   Gene Tailoring technology grants +1
  •   Targeted Gene Expressions technology grants +1
  •   Engineered Evolution ascension perk grants +3
  •   Evolutionary Mastery ascension perk grants +3
  •   The Omnicodex relic grants +1
  •   Hybrid species have one additional trait point and one additional trait pick
  •   Machine Template System technology grants +2 for non-machine empires and 0 for machine empires
  •   Cross-Model Standardization technology grants +1
  •   Fungible Circuitry technology grants +1
  •   Synthetic Evolution ascension perk grants +1
  •   Machine Template System technology grants +1 for machine empires
  •   Binary Motivators technology grants +1
  •   Nanite Assemblers technology grants +1
  •   Synthetic Age ascension perk grants +2


For pre-sapient species the option to create templates is replaced with the option to uplift and bring them to sapience. It requires the   Epigenetic Triggers technology and costs 3000   Society research. Upon completion, the empire will instantly integrate the uplifted species and gain 500   Influence. In addition, the uplifted species will gain +10%   Happiness when living within the borders of the empire that uplifted it. The initial ethics of the uplifted species will be determined by a series of initial events. Afterwards, the species fully susceptible to Ethics divergence.


This special Citizenship with associated Living Standards allows the modification of pops to better fit the existing empire, in ways that are not available via regular genetic modification. Each year 3, 6, or 12 pops will be assimilated on each planet. The type of assimilation depends on the empire and the pop in question.

  Fanatic Purifiers,   Devouring Swarms, and   Terravores can't perform any kind of assimilation.   Hive-Minded pops can't be assimilated into an empire that isn't a   Hive Mind, except with Hive Dissociation.

Assimilation type Empire requirements Species requirements Trait gained Traits removed
Identity Sublimation   Driven Assimilator
  •    Mechanical
  •    Machine
  •    Cybernetic
  •   Hive-Minded
  •   Self-Modified
Identity Sublimation
  •   Evolutionary Mastery
  •   Hive Mind
  •    Mechanical
  •    Machine
  •    Hive-Minded
  Hive-Minded   Self-Modified
Transubstantiation Synthesis   The Flesh is Weak
  •    Mechanical
  •    Machine
  •    Cybernetic
  •    Hive-Minded
  •   Self-Modified
Transubstantiation Synthesis   Synthetic Evolution
  •    Mechanical
  •    Machine
  •    Hive-Minded
  Mechanical All
Hive Dissociation
  •   Evolutionary Mastery
  •    Gestalt Consciousness
   Hive-Minded   Hive-Minded
Transcendent Awakening   Transcendence
  •    Mechanical
  •    Machine
  •    Cybernetic
  Psionic   Latent Psionic

Assimilating a pop from an invaded primitive species into a   Gestalt Consciousness will additionally remove culture shock modifiers.

Ascension pathsEdit

Genetic modification can be used in conjunction with some of the ascension perks.

  • The biological ascension path focuses entirely on genetic modification. Each of the two ascension perks grants 3 additional trait points and reduces the cost of genetic modification projects by 25%, as well as unlocking early the   Gene Seed Purification and   Genetic Resequencing technologies.
  • The psionic ascension path adds the   Psionic trait, which cannot be acquired or removed through genetic modification. At first, only the founding species will get it, but other species living in the empire can get it through assimilation.
  • Choosing the synthetic ascension path will first enhance all empire species with the   Cybernetic trait. Cybernetic species are still organic enough to be genetically modified. Completing the synthetic ascension path will upload all   Cybernetic pops into Robotic bodies, replacing genetic modification with cybernetic.

Hybrid speciesEdit

   Xenophile empires can pick the   Xeno-Compatibility Ascension Perk to allow the reproduction of two organic species into hybrid species. Hybrid species take a portrait from one of the parent species and a mix of traits from both parent species, with at least one trait being inherited from each. They also get +1 trait point and +1 trait pick. Two species are 3× more likely to create a hybrid species if they are part of the same species group.

A Caravan event unique to    Xenophile empires also has a 33% chance of creating a hybrid species.


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