Orthogonal variable spreading factor (OVSF) codes provide variable data rate transmissions for different bandwidth requirements in 3G WCDMA networks. In order to effectively utilize limited OVSF resources, many works in the literature have focused on dynamic code assignment (DCA) schemes. This paper investigates genetic algorithm (GA) based approach for dynamic OVSF code assignment in WCDMA networks. Different from existing conventional code assignment (CCA) and dynamic code assignment schemes, population is adaptively constructed according to existing traffic density in the OVSF code-tree. In order to improve the ability of the GA, we employ so-called "dominance & diploidy'' structure to adapt to changing traffic conditions. Performances of these two methods are evaluated in terms of blocking probability and spectral efficiency, and also compared with CCA and DCA. The simulation results show that the GA, especially with diploid structure, provides reduced code blocking probability and improved spectral efficiency in the system when compared to the CCA and DCA schemes. In addition to these, different GA operators are also tested under varying traffic loads to increase the overall system performance. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.