The Selfish Gene

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Nin', Sep 30, 2008.

  1. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Yep, or almost more likely by other genes. But "self"-regulation - say by temperature in ectotherms - is real.

    Well, here you have to use your common sense. If the mutation confers the loss of a character that's arguably useless in the new environment (assuming the switch or gradient is very strong) then it's probably "adaptive". If it confers a new function useful in that environment, then it's probably adaptive. Single toes in horses was probably an adaptation to long-distance trotting or running on the plains developing at the time their feet were evolving from five towards one toe; yet, three-toed horses do occur. They're generally described as atavisms, but would probably be slightly maladaptive over time in a natural setting. You can also have mutations that are maladaptive - cancer being one.

    Of what? How do you mean this?
     
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  3. scott3x Banned Banned

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    I agree. However, when I'm getting helped by someone, I'm perfectly happy that they feel good about themselves doing it. I myself would want them to feel good because who doesn't like being helped when they're down ;-)? They should just change the definition of altruism to something like: no obvious reward involved or something to that effect.

    At the extreme case: if you can live in a way that your self always includes everything, the difference between selfish and selfless dissapear (because there is nothing other then self). I'm not saying I or anyone else has achieved this, I'm just going to the logical extreme.
     
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Persistence and reproduction. Thus we see Darwinian evolution. You appear to be having trouble with the concept of it being adaptive.
     
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  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Yup, because neither the persistence nor the reproduction is a property of the gene, but of the system.

    How does the gene "regulate" itself? How is the gene "regulated" by other genes?


    For example?

    How does the process of mutation "confer" anything?

    None of which changes have any contribution from the gene to occur.


    Ascribing false functions to the gene, by extrapolating environmental effects as gene function.
     
  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Thermal changes in the rapidity of the reaction. You could say the external temperature is responsible, of course, but it can still translate into advantage for the organism.

    Cofactors in production, physiological epistasis, that sort of thing.

    I just gave you one: fewer toes in horses. Loss of eyes in cave organisms; the persistence of useless organs could be a simple channel for infection.

    ? By changing gene function, or deactivating them completely. What's your objective in this discussion? COuld you state your thesis?

    ? I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Could you express this more clearly?

    How else is the environment going to act? By magic?

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    Do a search on PubMed for gene by environment interaction and look for specific candidate genes.
     
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    So the gene does nothing

    So again, the gene does nothing

    Is this in a similar vein to ascribing environmental effects on a gene to the gene?


    So now the environment selects the genes? Wow.
     
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The gene is responsible, in combination with it's environment, for the qualities that are selected by natural selection.
     
  11. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    You mean in terms of its regulation? Possibly so. But does that matter? I think it's generally assumed it's either epistatic or external-environmental (for ectotherms).

    No. This would be a fixed difference in effect; developmental, say, and corresponding to the classical rather than common usage of the term "epistasis". (Technically speaking, what we call these days "epistasis" is actually "epistacy". I think it was Phillips who wrote a paper on that..don't remember when.)

    No, the environment helps determine activation. The mechanism might be overall regulation (for ectotherms) or epistasis (epistacy). Selection is a different issue.
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    How is the gene responsible for these qualities?'


    It is? So when you say genes regulate you really mean they are regulated? Or you mean something else entirely?

    Which means what exactly? The three toed horse has three toes because the gene wanted it fixed that way? Or the environment did?

    Are these more terms which say things they don't really mean?
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Are you kidding me, man? It is the unit of heredity!
     
  14. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Sam, what's going on here, exactly?
     
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    So? How does that confer causality on it?

    I'm clarifying my viewpoints.

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  16. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    "How does it infer causality"? It's variants are responsible for phenotypic variance.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The gene is reproduced, with variation. The "system" is not (crucial properties are persistent, of course, so we can recognize it as the same system). The fact that the evolution of the genetics is adaptive is indeed an observation of the gene's role in that larger system.

    That is what "adaptive" means, what an "adaptation" is to - a larger system. Why does this mean we have to stop using the word base "adapt" for such - - such - - - newly fitted? - - - less inefficiently reproductive or functional? - - - - help me out here: what word do you want to use for an evolutionary sequence of genetic changes that results in a particular batch of genes able to out-reproduce their nearest relatives and express themselves in more and more successfully "reproductive" ( in the metaphorical, inaccurate, but conventional organism sense) organisms, by making those organisms better able to survive and reproduce in some environment ?
     

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