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This paper presents COVNET, a new cooperative coevolutionary model for evolving artificial neural networks. This model is based on the idea of coevolving subnetworks that must cooperate to form a solution for a specific problem, instead of evolving complete networks. The combination of this subnetworks is part of a coevolutionary process. The best combinations of subnetworks must be evolved together with the coevolution of the subnetworks. Several subpopulations of subnetworks coevolve cooperatively and genetically isolated. The individual of every subpopulation are combined to form whole networks. This is a different approach from most current models of evolutionary neural networks which try to develop whole networks. COVNET places as few restrictions as possible over the network structure, allowing the model to reach a wide variety of architectures during the evolution and to be easily extensible to other kind of neural networks. The performance of the model in solving three real problems of classification is compared with a modular network, the adaptive mixture of experts and with the results presented in the bibliography. COVNET has shown better generalization and produced smaller networks than the adaptive mixture of experts and has also achieved results, at least, comparable with the results in the bibliography.