Is The Selfish Gene a good book?


Is The Selfish Gene a good book?

Books that achieve both — changing science and reaching the public — are rare. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) was one. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is another. From the moment of its publication 40 years ago, it has been a sparkling best-seller and a scientific game-changer.

Why are genes called selfish?

The result is that “the prevalent genes in a sexual population must be those that, as a mean condition, through a large number of genotypes in a large number of situations, have had the most favourable phenotypic effects for their own replication.” In other words, we expect selfish genes (“selfish” meaning that it …

Is the selfish gene a metaphor?

The selfish gene is a valuable metaphor, but it also represents a simplified, idealized view of independent genes acting in isolation; this is almost never true in the real world, which is full of the sorts of context dependent, non-linear interactions that tend to generate emergent properties.

Is Kin selection selfish?

Kin selection is important because it can explain altruistic behavior, such as in workers of the social insects. However, it can also explain selfish behaviors and is important for understanding conflicts between individuals.

Why is the green beard effect important?

In this way, the greenbeard effect ensures that actor and recipient are genetically related at the behaviour locus, such that the altruistic behaviour is favoured by kin selec- tion, even if the two individuals are unrelated at most other loci across their genomes.

How many times has eusociality evolved?

Eusociality is inferred to have evolved at least three times (Figure 6).

Does group selection exist?

The verdict was that group selection is theoretically possible but that in reality, selection within groups is almost invariably stronger than selection among groups. As George C. Williams (1966, p 93) put it in Adaptation and Natural Selection, “group-related adaptations do not, in fact, exist”.

Is Greenbeard selection rare?

Evolutionary biologists have debated the potential validity of green-beard genes, suggesting that it would be extraordinarily rare for a single or even a set of linked genes to produce three complex phenotypic effects.