Plague Inc: How to Unlock Genes

In Plague Inc. for the Android & iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, etc.), you’ll notice that when you start a new game that you can select gene modifiers if you have any unlocked, but it’s fairly vague as to how you unlock them. Sure you can buy them, but who wants to do that?

At first I thought it was just from playing the game, but my first few plays I kept losing and not unlocking anything, so that couldn’t be it. I figured at this point that you must need to win a game to unlock them.

So I tried my best to win my first game. It took me several more tries, and a switch in strategies, but I eventually got my first plague to wipe out humanity, and sure enough.. I unlocked my first gene modifier.

I also noticed that there is no specific order in which they unlock either. You’ll always unlock them in order in the group they are in, but the group that unlocks a gene seems to be random.

These gene modifiers can help you immensely to win more games as well. They can give you a starting bonus DNA points, or more DNA points back when you devolve, which can really turn the tides on winning some plague types.

One thing to note as well, once you figure out how to win the Bacteria stage, you can keep playing it to beat it and unlock more genes.

Check out my article on how to beat Bacteria on Normal if you’re having trouble unlocking your first gene modifier.

The final genes that you’ll unlock will be the Necroa Virus specific genes. This gene category will only show up when you pick the Necroa plague, and replaces the¬†Evolution genes group, which kinda sucks since these are some of my favorite genes to use.

Unlocking the Necroa Virus genes just requires you to win games using the Necroa Virus. If you need help doing this, check out my guide to beating the Necroa Virus.

Check out the rest of my Plague Inc. guides for more help beating the different plague types.

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  1. Rita says

    I have a question regarding the genes. Every single time i click on a gene it says insert gene. So can I only use 1 at a time? I don’t really understand that. Thank you. I love this game :)

  2. Bringer of Cooties says

    I can confirm that you can unlock them on Bacteria Mode.

    I found this article and put it to the test. To be honest, I already got some on the other plague types, but couldn’t complete Bio Weapon on normal mode, and decided to find a way to “kill boars.” (South Park reference to the act of leveling up through tedious actions)

    After completing many games on Bacteria Normal mode, I got lazy and started doing it on casual mode, and easily unlocked the rest of them. Got back to Bio Weapon type and beat it easily in both casual and normal mode with my choice genes.

    After a few games I already unlocked the game (for $1.06) so I can fast forward and use genes. It’s well worth it for this game. One of the genes allows the red and orange balloons to pop themselves, and on fast forward, you can let yourself be distracted until a notification pops up which pauses game play for you anyways. Finally, I can half ass it when I feel confident in my strategy. Sometimes I even let them blue balloons go unpopped because I’m that full of myself.

    • Bringer of Cooties says

      Okay, it only unlocks to 83%, but the other genes are not visible anyways and you won’t need them until later.

      Once you beat, I believe, all the standard plagues on Brutal, it unlocks Neurax Worm (special Plague), and once you beat that on Brutal (I believe), then the Necroa Virus will unlock.

      Then as you beat Necroa Virus (any mode including casual(easy)) you will unlock the zombie gene codes, and after you win 5 times, you will fully unlock all 5 and can then beat it in Brutal pretty easily. Now these genes replace 5 “Evolution Genes” you already won from the other wins, so you will always have 5 usable subgroups of genes with 5 included in each subgroup to choose from.

      Once you beat Necroa Virus on Brutal, the cheats unlock. It seems to me they are only cheats on Bacteria mode, which I think is lame, It would be nice if these were unlocked prior and good for all plague types, so you can explore the hidden symptoms, abilities and transmissions. without wasting DNA you don’t have. But that’s my suggestion to the game makers.

      Once those cheats are unlocked though, you can go over to The Scenarios area, and click Unlock. You will see the price has dropped for plague and expansion pack, so you can then pay just 5 bucks to unlock all scenarios and get new plagues as the game makers release them. I did this and now I am playing through the scenarios.

      All together I paid $6.05 for the whole game including future updates/add-ons. I think it was well worth it. The game is addicting and you will find yourself angry at Humanity for trying to stop you. The worm though solves that issue as you can make them worship you, which was awesome to see those news stories.

  3. june says

    For the people who tl;dr’ ed the conversation, you can unlock genes for free on normal + brutal difficulties for any disease type, but you have to purchase the game to actually USE those genes.

  4. says

    There’s a lot of misinfo in here from people who are seemingly confused by the unlocking of the genes.

    1. You don’t have to beat the game on every difficulty before you can use the genes. You can use the very first gene you unlock on the next game you play, no matter what method of plague you use.

    2. There is three genes for each plague. For Bacteria, for example, you get a gene unlocked for beating it on Casual, another for beating it on Normal and another for beating it on Brutal. Also they don’t stack, so you can’t beat it on Brutal first and unlock all three genes.

    3. You don’t have to buy the upgrades (Necroa, Neurax Worm) to use the genes either.

    Amazing game, that I reviewed on my blog last year. Everyone should buy this game, it’s not very expensive and it’s not a game that requires the player to be an ATM to be able to beat the game (unlike GluGames among others)
    Gary Anderson recently posted..The One Where Sarah Palin Becomes President Due to InsanityMy Profile

    • says

      I’m not sure where you got your information guy, but you have a lot of inaccuracies.

      1. That’s true, you don’t have to beat the game to use them, but you do have to make at least one purchase before you can use them.

      2. I have no idea where you got this info. The genes are unlocked randomly when you beat a game. I have verified this by playing on two different devices, and different genes unlocked as I beat games on each. I have personally never seen anything unlock on Casual, and I’ve only played one or two Casual games, but I have all genes unlocked and usable. You also don’t have to beat them on Brutal to unlock them either, I unlocked the bulk of the genes on Normal.

      3. Not entirely true. Like I said above, you do have to purchase at least one thing in this game in order to use the genes. You can unlock all of them, but it won’t let you use them until you buy something. The cheapest purchase is 99 cents though, so it’s still well worth it.
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      • says

        1. Well when I first bought the game there wasn’t a freebie version of it, so I guess they must have introduced one since. Didn’t realize they had limited it to purchased games. My mistake.

        2. Well there are 30 unlockable genes (if you go to buy one of them it offers one for 99 cents and all 30 for like $7.99). There are 9 diseases (Bacteria, Virus, Fungus, Parasite, Prion, Nano-Virus, Bio-Weapon, Neurax & Necroa) which = 27 genes (going by the beating it on casual/normal/brutal levels). That leads me to wonder what the other three genes are and how you unlock them. Never thought about it because for whatever reason I had in my mind there were 10 viruses x 3 = 30.

        When you go to insert a gene, there are 5 categories, with 5 genes in each which equal 25. If you couldn’t beat it on casual and unlock it, then that would mean there were 9 diseases with 2 genes per, clocking in at 18 genes total, 12 short of the number you can buy.

        I personally have unlocked genes by beating it on casual. I’m not saying it is a specific gene attached to each one, I’m saying that if you beat a disease on all three difficulties, you unlock three different genes. Whether that’s random or not (like many of the events in the game), I don’t know.

        3. What I meant is that you don’t have to buy the upgrades for Necroa/Neurax Worm virus, in order to use the genes in the game. If I misread what was said before, I apologize, but that’s the inference that I got.

        If there are limitations to the game due to not purchasing it (or bootlegging it) I don’t know what they are, as I’ve bought every upgrade as soon as it came out.

        • says

          I see then, that makes sense. Apparently the current version allows you to unlock all of the genes without buying the game, but you can’t use them without some sort of purchase. I purchased something straight away because I liked the game, so I didn’t even realize this at first.

          I only know of the 25 genes on the main page, unless there are five hidden somewhere, but I haven’t seen this talked about on any forums or anything. With my experiences with the game though, they aren’t tied to beating any specific games. I played Bacteria on Normal a lot to unlock most of them, since it was simple and I could beat them quickly.

          No apologies necessary man.
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          • Josh says

            The necroa virus has 5 genes separate from the others, the top right gene modifier. You can unlock each modifier through casual mode on Android.

          • Freemanator says

            I have it on Android, and have only paid for the game.

            The genes are then unlocked by beating each type, on each difficulty setting, whether it is in order or not I don’t know.

            Apart from buying the game, you don’t have to buy anything else, and as you can unlock them for free, it is more of a challenge.

  5. Jimmy says

    Do you still have to purchase the full game to use the genes? I beat both bacteria and virus levels and it gave me two genes but when I go to insert them it still wants me to buy them. I’m totally confused.

    • says

      I’m not sure, I just purchased the game straight away because I liked it so much. Are you sure you’re trying to add the specific genes you unlocked? Either way, purchase the game.. it’s worth it, and it’s only a buck.

      • Moo says

        I dunno, I’ve been able to unlock genes in Casual bacteria mode just fine. And I do believe you do need to purchase the game to use genes. I think it says it in the little upgrade ad it shows every once in a while. I do agree, it is totally worth buying the game. Instant addiction!

        • DJ Wolfy says

          I have just tested the unlock theory, and as i said in the other question reply, you do not need to purchase the game nor do you need to play on any specific difficulty to unlock more genes. Hope this helps. -Wolfy

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