by Eddie Snipes

This content is part of a series.

Intelligent Genes (4 of 6)
Eddie Snipes

In his article, 'Universal Parasitism and the Co-evolution of Extended Phenotypes', Richard Dawkins once again tries to overcome the problem of evolution by carefully weaving around objections by convincing the reader of the simplicity of evolution. Critical thinking is avoided by presenting the idea that genes themselves are working as a team and even work with the gene 'teams' of other species. Instead of explaining genetic development, he classifies them into to cooperative categories: genome types and phenotypes. Genomes are working for the survival of the body of the species and phenotypes are working toward the evolutionary jump even between two or more species.

Co-evolution has always been a difficulty for evolution. When one species is completely dependent upon another, evolution grapples to convince us that co-evolution is possible. For example, the fig plant has blossoms that prevent insects from entering, yet it can't survive if the inside of the fig isn't pollinated. The fig wasp is designed to enter and needs the fig for its survival and the fig needs the wasp for its survival. Another example is the dodo bird. The dodo was dependent on the Calvarias tree and the Calvarias tree was dependent on the newly extinct dodo. The thick husk surrounding the seed cannot germinate naturally, but the dodo's digestive system removes the husk and allows it to germinate once it passes through the bird. Why does evolution that supposedly strives for survival make itself 100% dependent on the survival of another species? Dawkins does not provide any real answers to this, but he does give a unique perspective by using phenotypes.

Dawkins explains that the orthodox view is that a body is the vehicle for transporting a set of genes from one generation to another. In this article he states that animal behavior is not necessarily controlled by the genes in the animals body, but genes are selected by proxy. Two gene te ...

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