Document Detail

Neo-Darwinism, the modern synthesis and selfish genes: are they of use in physiology?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21135048     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This article argues that the gene-centric interpretations of evolution, and more particularly the selfish gene expression of those interpretations, form barriers to the integration of physiological science with evolutionary theory. A gene-centred approach analyses the relationships between genotypes and phenotypes in terms of differences (change the genotype and observe changes in phenotype). We now know that, most frequently, this does not correctly reveal the relationships because of extensive buffering by robust networks of interactions. By contrast, understanding biological function through physiological analysis requires an integrative approach in which the activity of the proteins and RNAs formed from each DNA template is analysed in networks of interactions. These networks also include components that are not specified by nuclear DNA. Inheritance is not through DNA sequences alone. The selfish gene idea is not useful in the physiological sciences, since selfishness cannot be defined as an intrinsic property of nucleotide sequences independently of gene frequency, i.e. the 'success' in the gene pool that is supposed to be attributable to the 'selfish' property. It is not a physiologically testable hypothesis.
Denis Noble
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review     Date:  2010-12-06
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of physiology     Volume:  589     ISSN:  1469-7793     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Physiol. (Lond.)     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-04-13     Completed Date:  2011-08-15     Revised Date:  2013-07-03    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0266262     Medline TA:  J Physiol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1007-15     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PT, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Biological Evolution*
Selection, Genetic
Systems Biology*

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