The strategic gene

  title={The strategic gene},
  author={David Haig},
  journal={Biology \& Philosophy},
  • D. Haig
  • Published 30 March 2012
  • Biology
  • Biology & Philosophy
Gene-selectionists define fundamental terms in non-standard ways. Genes are determinants of difference. Phenotypes are defined as a gene’s effects relative to some alternative whereas the environment is defined as all parts of the world that are shared by the alternatives being compared. Environments choose among phenotypes and thereby choose among genes. By this process, successful gene sequences become stores of information about what works in the environment. The strategic gene is defined as… 

Genomic imprinting and the units of adaptation

The idea that natural selection drives intragenomic conflicts of interest between genes originating from different parents is formalized and mathematical links between the dynamics of natural selection and the idea of the gene as an intentional, inclusive-fitness-maximizing agent are established.

Genetic dissent and individual compromise

Grafen adopts a majoritarian perspective in which an individual’s interests are identified with the interests of the largest coreplicon of its genome, but genomic imprinting and recombination factionalize the genome so that no faction may predominate in some interactions among kin.

The extended phenotype(s): a comparison with niche construction theory

It is argued that niche construction theory offers a superior explanation in all three cases, regardless of whether the extended phenotype concept is interpreted in selfish gene or selfish organism terms.

Sameness, novelty, and nominal kinds

Organisms and their genomes are mosaics of features of different evolutionary age that comprise part of the selective environment that has shaped the evolution of newer features by ‘positive’ selection.

The Evolutionary Gene and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis1

It is argued that the evolutionary gene, when being materialized, need not be restricted to nucleic acids but can encompass other heritable units such as epialleles and current evolutionary theory does not require a major conceptual change in order to incorporate the mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance.

The Evolutionary Feedback between Genetic Conflict and Genome Architecture

It is shown that autosomal, but not Xlinked, sex-biased genes form numerous clusters of limited spatial extent, which likely facilitates the invasion of new sexually antagonistic alleles, yet may counterintuitively accelerate sex-specific adaptation as well.

The sociobiology of genes: the gene’s eye view as a unifying behavioural-ecological framework for biological evolution

Given the capacity of gene-selectionism to adopt an intra-organismal gene’s eye view, the relevance of the latter model for evo-devo is outlined and the conceptual integration between the gene�'s eye view on the one hand, and more organism-centred evolutionary models on the other.

Distinguishing Natural Selection from Other Evolutionary Processes in the Evolution of Altruism

It is shown, using a simple individual-centered model, that once clear conditions for natural selection and altruism are specified, one can distinguish two kinds of evolution of altruism, only one of which corresponds to the evolution of philanthropy by natural selection, the other resulting from other evolutionary processes.

The Meaning of "Cause" in Genetics.

  • Kate E. Lynch
  • Biology
    Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine
  • 2021
This technique-Mendelian randomization-offers some solutions to traditional epidemiological challenges, although it is limited to the study of environments with known genetic influences.

In What Sense Can There Be Evolution by Natural Selection Without Perfect Inheritance?

  • Pierrick Bourrat
  • Philosophy
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
  • 2019
ABSTRACT In Darwinian Population and Natural Selection, Peter Godfrey-Smith brought the topic of natural selection back to the forefront of philosophy of biology, highlighting different issues



The extended replicator

This paper evaluates and criticises the developmental systems conception of evolution and develops instead an extension of the “gene's eye” conception of Evolution, which recognises both genetic and non-genetic replicators, lineages of replicators and interactors.

A formal theory of the selfish gene

A formal theory of the selfish gene is developed, using optimization theory to capture the analogy of ‘gene as fitness‐maximizing agent’ in mathematical terms and to assess the various criticisms that have been levelled at the theory, dispelling some and strengthening others.

The Social Gene

By viewing gene survival through the lens of skew selection, molecular biologists gain insight into the evolution of genomic size and animal complexity as independent survival strategies of self-interested genes facing multiple agents of selection.

What is the Gene Trying to Do?

  • W. Ewens
  • Biology
    The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • 2011
A new biological significance for the Fundamental Theorem, not previously found in the literature, is offered, together with an optimality principle connected with this theorem.

A gene’s eye view of Darwinian populations

This work suggests that Godfrey-Smith’s scheme for thinking about Darwinian populations is also applicable to populations of genes, and takes issue with parts of this view.

Weismann Rules! OK? Epigenetics and the Lamarckian temptation

It is argued that the sense in which claims of epigenetic inheritance are true does not challenge fundamental tenets of neo-Darwinism, and that evolutionary adaptation remains the product of natural selection of ‘random’ variation.

Variation Due to Change in the Individual Gene

The opening up of these new problems is dne to the fundamental conitribution which genetics has made to cell physiology witlhin the last decade, and the possible means of attacking them are focused on.

The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection

Although it is true that most text-books of genetics open with a chapter on biometry, closer inspection will reveal that this has little connexion with the body of the work, and that more often than not it is merely belated homage to a once fashionable study.

Representation in the genome and in other inheritance systems

This account rejects the standard assumption that genetic representation can be used to explain the course of an organism’s development and identifies the explanatory role played by representational properties of the genome.

Natural selection maximizes Fisher information

  • S. Frank
  • Biology
    Journal of evolutionary biology
  • 2009
This work shows that Fisher information arises as the intrinsic metric of natural selection and evolutionary dynamics, and shows a relation between Fisher information and Shannon information (entropy) that may help to unify the correspondence between information and dynamics.