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Criteria are given by which dissipative evolution can transfer populations and coherences between quantum subspaces, without a loss of coherence. This results in a form of quantum error correction that is implemented by the joint evolution of a system and a cold bath. It requires no external intervention and, in principal, no ancilla. An example of a system that protects a qubit against spin-flip errors is proposed. It consists of three spin 1/2 magnetic particles and three modes of adoi:10.1103/physrevlett.85.856 pmid:10991416 fatcat:uvkgvjx23bbgpbpol7sy4lu4iy