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comment by lil
lil  ·  2885 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why it's time to lay the selfish gene to rest

I love articles that argue convincingly for a new paradigm. There is likely much more to gene expression than is visible to the Mendelian eye.

    But the new gene didn’t create the new trait. It just made it easier to keep a trait that a change in the environment made valuable. The gene didn’t drive the train; it merely hopped aboard. Had the gene showed up earlier (either through mutation or mating with an outsider), back when you lived in the forest and speed didn’t mean anything, it would have given no advantage. Instead of being selected for and spreading, the gene would have disappeared or remained in just a few animals. But because the gene was now of value, the population took it in, accommodated it, and spread it wide.
In other words, a mutation might occur after an organism has accommodated an environmental change. The mutation sticks because it is relevant.

This makes a lot of sense. Most appealing about this article is the author's implication that there are many things we don't yet understand, rather than the one-theory-fits-all assumptions about genetics.

btw, while reading the story of the grasshopper/locust gene expression, I couldn't help thinking about the violin/fiddle.





thenewgreen  ·  2885 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I really enjoyed the grasshopper/locust story as well.

    btw, while reading the story of the grasshopper/locust gene expression, I couldn't help thinking about the violin/fiddle.
-What do you mean by this? Is it that a violin can be a fiddle as well? That depends on whose hands it's in, right?
lil  ·  2885 days ago  ·  link  ·  

In a klezmer or bluegrass environment, violin genes express themselves as fiddles.

thenewgreen  ·  2883 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's what I thought you meant. But the analogy doesn't quite work because the violin itself is still, physically, the same object.

I'm just cranky today. sorry.

pingbear  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    But the new gene didn’t create the new trait. It just made it easier to keep a trait that a change in the environment made valuable. The gene didn’t drive the train; it merely hopped aboard. Had the gene showed up earlier (either through mutation or mating with an outsider), back when you lived in the forest and speed didn’t mean anything, it would have given no advantage. Instead of being selected for and spreading, the gene would have disappeared or remained in just a few animals. But because the gene was now of value, the population took it in, accommodated it, and spread it wide.

I don't see how this is incompatible with the Selfish Gene. I thought selfish gene theory described why organisms seek to reproduce, and why altruism and selfishness both act together to further the organism and it's genes along. It described why life does what it does, and that genetics was the driving influence of all that, not individual genes.