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This paper investigates the application of immunity genetic algorithm (IGA) for the problem of optimal placement of phasor measurement units (PMUs) in an electric power network. The problem is to determine the placement sites of the minimal set of PMUs which makes the system observable. Incorporating immune operator in the canonical genetic algorithm (GA), on the condition of preserving GA's advantages, utilizes some characteristics and knowledge of the problems for restraining the degenerative phenomena during evolution, so as to improve the algorithm efficiency. This type of prior knowledge about some parts of optimal solution exists in the PMU placement problem. So, the IGA is adopted in this paper to solve the problem. Also, a new effect which is preventing from familial reproduction is studied which shows an increase in converging speed. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified via IEEE standard systems and a realistic large-scale power system.