A segmentation approach based on a Markov random field (MRF) model is an iterative algorithm; it needs many iteration steps to approximate a near optimal solution or gets a non-suitable solution with a few iteration steps. Tn this paper, we use a genetic algorithm (GA) to improve an unsupervised MRF-based segmentation approach for multispectral textured images. The proposed hybrid approach has the advantage that combines the fast convergence of the MRF-based iterative algorithm and the powerful global exploration of the GA. In experiments, synthesized color textured images and multi-spectral remote-sensing images were processed by the proposed approach to evaluate the segmentation performance. The experimental results reveal that the proposed approach really improves the MRF-based segmentation for the multi-spectral textured images. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.