Abstract The claim that the competition of parabolically growing self-replicators leads to dynamically stable coexistence was challenged by Lifson & Lifson [(1999). J. theor. Biol. 199, 425–433]. They have shown that, if single- and double-strands are treated separately, and only single-strands undergo spontaneous decay, then there is natural selection rather than survival of everybody. We use their models to show that if double-strand decay is not neglected, then dynamical coexistence is still possible under a wide range of parameter values, in agreement with the chromatographized replicator model of von Kiedrowski & Szathmáry [(2000). Selection 1–3, 173–179]. Coexistence is always ensured above a critical resource (monomer) inflow rate. Recycling of decayed replicators into monomers further favours dynamical coexistence. The claim that parabolic growth invariably results in coexistence remains valid for the model for which it was meant to apply, namely for parabolic growth without template decay. Exponential decay acting on single- and double-strands, combined with parabolic growth, may or may not result in a dynamical coexistence of self-replicators.