Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 04 Aug 2003 - 15:51:47 GMT

  • Next message: derek gatherer: "Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)"

    >From: derek gatherer <>
    >Subject: Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)
    >Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 08:54:13 +0100 (BST)
    > --- wrote: > In a message dated
    >8/1/2003 4:02:47 AM Central
    > > terms of "Longevity, Fecundity, Fidelity." I take
    > > this to
    > > be a tenet of evolutionary theory (subject to
    > > empirical
    > > testing and re-testing, logical analysis, etc.)
    > > rather than
    > > another definition per se.
    >No, they are part of the definition. For instance,
    >your Y-chromosome is a replicator, but none of your
    >autosomes are. By definition. Why? Because the
    >autosomes don't satisfy the Longevity criterion
    >(because of recombination). Simple as that.
    >Dawkins' notion of the replicator is built on
    >Williams' notion of the 'evolutionary gene'. The
    >definitions were already clear enough by the mid-60s.
    What proportion of a genome (eg- the human genome) actually codes for anything versus the proportion which is non-genic? A so-called "evolutionary gene" would include portions of the genome that code for nothing of cellular significance. These regions could not easily be construed as a "molecular gene" (ie- related to to genomic regions allowing for transcription into RNA's or translation into peptides).

    I suppose the distinction between evolutionary and molecular genes has little bearing on these regions acting as replicators, but there's a bit of confusion when one starts talking about "selfish" genes which could be non-coding fragments that are neutral or nearly neutral "junk" with regards to individual fitness and regions that are organized in such a way that they are told by regulators above them in the hierearchy when to transcribe RNA or to StF up.

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