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This paper describes a unified network synthesis approach for the conceptual stage of mechatronic systems design using bond graphs. It facilitates knowledge interaction with evolutionary computation significantly by encoding the structure of a bond graph in a genetic programming tree representation. On the one hand, since bond graphs provide a succinct set of basic design primitives for mechatronic systems modeling, it is possible to extract useful modular design knowledge discovered during the evolutionary process for design creativity and reusability. On the other hand, design knowledge gained from experience can be incorporated into the evolutionary process to improve the topologically open-ended search capability of genetic programming for enhanced search efficiency and design feasibility. This integrated knowledge-based design approach is demonstrated in a quarter-car suspension control system synthesis and a MEMS bandpass filter design application.