Selfish Gene

William D Hamilton in 1960s developed the concept of selfish genes which was popularised by Richard Dawkins novel “The Selfish Gene”. Selfish genetic elements refer to the DNA elements which spread by forming additional copies but do not contribute to the reproductive success of the organism. The elements are still passed on to the next generation due its efficient replicative ability. They can either manipulate the DNA replication machinery of the cell or have the ability to copy their own DNA. E.g. Transposons and homing endonuclease.

References:

  1. Hamilton W.D. (1996) Narrow Roads of Gene Land vol. 1: Evolution of Social Behaviour Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  2. Doolittle WF, Sapienza C (1980). “Selfish genes, the phenotype paradigm and genome evolution”. Nature. 284 (5757): 601–603. doi:10.1038/284601a0
  3. McClintock, Barbara (June 1950). “The origin and behaviour of mutable loci in maize”. Proc Natl AcadSci U S A. 36 (6): 344–55
  4. Jasin M (Jun 1996). “Genetic manipulation of genomes with rare-cutting endonucleases”. Trends Genet. 12 (6): 224–8. doi:10.1016/0168-9525(96)10019-6.