Dawkinsian evolution

The emergence of amphimixis also brought about the creation of extraordinarily favorable conditions for the spreading of a number of types of ultraselfish genes, i.e. genes that spread in the population even when they simultaneously reduce the fitness of their carriers. While, in asexually reproducing organisms, the fate of the individual gene is permanently connected with the genome in which it occurs, and the gene must thus be more or less loyal to the other genes, in organisms with amphimixis, a gene or, to be more exact, the allele of a certain gene appears in a different genome in every generation. As a consequence, classical Darwinian evolution, in which those alleles that increase the fitness of their carriers are fixed, changes into Dawkinsian evolution (see IV.9.1). During Dawkinsian evolution, preferentially those alleles that are capable of ensuring propagation of their copies at the expense of copies of other alleles in the same locus and sometimes at the expense of the fitness of their carrier are preferentially fixed – see the bluebeard model in Section IV.9.1 (Dawkins 1976; Dawkins 1982). The main driving force for evolution ceased to be competition between individuals within a population and became competition between alleles within the individual loci (Tab. XII.1). The ability of alleles to program the traits or behavior of their hosts so as to gain advantages in intra-species competition became only one of many strategies through which the allele can ensure its preferential spreading within the population.

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more