From Official Barotrauma Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Data is up-to-date
Last updated for version
The current game version is

Genetics is a game mechanic related to collecting, researching, refining and combining genetic material for use in splicing into characters to augment their abilities.

Unidentified Genetic Material

Main article: Unidentified Genetic Material

Unidentified Genetic Material (also commonly called UGM) is the main resource required for the creation of all genetic materials. UGM is looted from containers or creatures, or is purchased. To extract useful genetics from it, UGM must be researched. Researching requires one sample of UGM and one Stabilozine to be placed inside a Research Station. The outputted genetic material will be of a random type, with a quality between 10% - 60%.

Genetic Material

Genetic Material is the output of researched UGM. There are 12 different types, and each item has a certain "quality" or "strength" (both terms can be used interchangeably; they both refer to the percentage of the genetic material). The type of genetic material determines the buff received from the item when splicing, and the quality determines the potency of the buff (quality of the gene correlates exactly with the strength of the applied affliction when spliced). Note that quality does not increase potency linearly for all gene types - some genetic buffs are increased for each 20% increment in quality, and some genetic materials have no different effects between different quality levels. For example: 20% Mudraptor Genes and 100% Mudraptor Genes function identically when spliced, and similarly 85% and 100% Hammerhead Matriarch Genes provide the exact same buff when spliced. See each genetic material page for exact numbers.

The different types of buffs are as follows:

Gene Type Effect Quality Scaling
Crawler Increases swimming speed by [10-50]% Linear
Hammerhead Allows the subject to to do [20-100]% more damage with melee weapons Linear
Mantis Increases movement speed on land by [10-25]% Linear
Moloch Increases resistance to physical damage by [10-25]% Linear
Tiger Thresher Decreases the subject's oxygen consumption by [20-100]% Linear
Hammerhead Matriarch Makes the subject's physical injuries heal at a rate of [6-45]% per minute Step
Hunter Receiving physical damage makes the subject gain a [75-150]% boost to melee weapon damage Step
Mollusc Receiving physical damage makes the subject gain [10-60]% Vigor Step
Skitter Receiving physical damage makes the subject gain [10-60]% Hyperactivity Step
Husk Prevents Husk Infections from advancing to the point where they take control of their host None
Mudraptor Causes the subject to grow a mudraptor-like beak, which can be used to attack enemies and break doors with the [Creature Attack] key None
Spineling Causes the subject to grow spineling-like bony protrusions out of their back, which can be shot out with the [Creature Attack] key None


Refining is the process of taking two genetic materials of the same type, and producing a single genetic material with a higher quality. The quality of the product depends only on the higher quality gene used as input - the product will be highest quality input + [5-8]%, or highest quality input + [15-18]% with the Gene Splicer talent. (The value of the quality increase is chosen at random between [5-8]%, then a +10% is added if the character refining has the Gene Splicer talent).

The lower quality input gene does not impact the result. As an example, refining an 80% crawler genes with another 80% crawler gene will result in a product with quality ranging from 85% to 88%, and identically, refining an 80% crawler gene with a 20% crawler gene will also result in a product with quality ranging from 85% to 88%.

Since Gene Splicer adds a flat +10% to the gene quality, the average increase per refine is increased from +6.5% to +16.5%, which is an extreme bonus. Having Gene Splicer increases refining effectiveness by 2.5 times, so it is advised to not refine any genetic material until this talent is picked up.

Refining allows for the creation of high quality genes, but also has some risk. When refining, there is a chance that the product will be tainted. This taint chance increases with the higher quality input gene, and reduces with the medical skill of the character doing the refining.

The formula for the taint chance is: 0.99 * [highest input gene quality] * [1 - 0.00375 * ([Medical Skill] + 70)]

For any gene strength, the required Medical Skill to have a 0% taint chance is 197. This is unobtainable for Medical Doctors, who can only ever get to 180, but Assistants who apprenticeship medic can reach up to 200 with skill-boosting effects. It is possible to get to 230 if an assistant graduates the Medic tree, however such a high medical skill is unnecessary for the purposes of gene refining, and if the assistant does not graduate the Xenologist tree, then they are missing the very important Gene Splicing talent.

The taint chance is shown when placing genetic two materials of the same type in the Research Station, so there is no need for the player to do this calculation.

The Genetic Genius talent does not decrease the taint chance when refining. It only reduces taint chance when combining.

Tainted Genes

Genetic debuffs are applied when tainted genes are spliced into a character. Tainted genes still provide the genetic buff, however cannot be further refined or combined, and give a single random debuff when spliced. Genetic material that has been tainted will be named "Tainted Genetic Material ([type])". Similar to genetic buffs, the quality of the tainted gene correlates to the strength of the debuff affliction. All genetic debuffs scale linearly with quality, with the exception of Outside Influence.

Effect Name Description Effect
Decrepify Subject's endurance is decreased. Reduces Vitality by [10-25]%
Glass Jaw Subject suffers from longer periods of unconsciousness when knocked out. [25-75]% less Stun resistance
Hypersensitivity Subject's skin is sore and more sensitive to touch. [25-75]% less damage resistance
Inflamed Lung Subject has an adverse reaction to oxygen. [0-50] Vitality reduction; increases over time.
Can be reduced with Oxygen Low > 10
Muscular Dystrophy Subject suffers from decreased muscle mass. Do [10-50]% less melee damage
Outside Influence Subject hears unintelligible voices inside their head. +[0.1-0.3] Psychosis per second
Rigid Joints Subject's joints are stiff and moving is more difficult. Move [15-45]% slower
Tunnel Vision Subject's eyes are sensitive to light. Blurs and distorts the screen
Xenobiology Subject's organs are resistant to traditional medicine. Affected by medicine [25-66]% less


Combining is the process of taking two different genetic materials, and producing a single genetic material that has the effects of both. Combining allows for double the genetic buffs to be applied when splicing, but also has a base taint chance of 100%. Medical skill does not reduce combining taint chance, so the only way to combine genetic materials without tainting them is to take the Genetic Genius talent, which reduces taint chance to 1%. Combined genes cannot be further refined.

Combined genetic material will have quality [average of two input genes] + [5-8]%, or [average of two input genes] + [15-18]% with the Gene Splicer talent (contrary to the description of the talent, it also applies when combining).

Since the resultant quality from combining can be higher than the quality of the genes that were used, it is not necessary to use 100% genes to create a combined gene with 100% quality; with the Gene Splicer talent, an average quality of 85% will be sufficient to create a combined gene with maximum quality.

This quality will become the strength of both genetic buffs upon splicing, even if they were not the same strength before combining. For example, combining a 20% crawler gene with an 80% hammerhead gene could result in a combined gene with quality of 56%, and such a gene, upon being spliced, would grant the effects of both a 56% crawler gene, and a 56% hammerhead gene.

Combined genetic materials will use the sprite of the genetic material that was in the left slot of the Research Station when creating it, but this is purely visual; the order of placement of genes in the research station does not affect the output.


Placing genetic material in a Gene Splicer or Advanced Gene Splicer allows it to be spliced, applying its buffs (and debuffs in the case of tainted genes) to a character. To splice genes, place the gene splicer in the health interface slot (accessible from the Health GUI, default H). Once spliced, these buffs will remain indefinitely until the genetic material item is removed from the splicer, the splicer is removed from the health interface slot, or the spliced character perishes. Dying, removing genetic material from the splicer or removing the splicer from the health interface slot will destroy the genetic material, though the splicer will always remain intact. It is not possible to interact with other characters' health interface slot, unless they are unconscious, dead, or an npc crew member.

When using an advanced splicer, having the same type of gene in both slots will sum their qualities together, however not past 100%. Using two 40% quality genes of the same type inside an advanced splicer will result in a genetic buff with 80 affliction strength, but two 60% genes will only result in a buff of 100 affliction strength. In general, it is usually more effective to refine same-type genes than to try to use multiple in the same splicer.

Related Talents

Talent Tree Description

Gene Harvester
ID: geneharvester
Medical Doctor
Spec. 1
When looting a monster, there is a 20% chance of finding a Genetic Material on it.

Gene Splicer
ID: genesplicer
Medical Doctor
Spec. 2
Refining genetic materials adds an additional 10% to their potency.

Blackmarket Genes
ID: blackmarketgenes
Medical Doctor
Spec. 3
Shops on Research Stations and Cities can sell Genetic Materials. You can sell genetic materials for 50% more.

Genetic Genius
ID: geneticgenious
Medical Doctor
Spec. 4
Combining different types of genetic materials is 99% less likely to taint the materials. Unlock recipe: Advanced Gene Splicer.

See Also

Game Mechanics
Game Modes