genes vs. genes

on the one hand we’ve got the westermarck effect, presumably coded for by some gene/s that have been selected for ’cause too much close inbreeding is maybe not a good idea. at the very least, it kinda defeats the purpose of sex (whatever that might be — apart from fun, that is).

on the other hand, we’ve got genetic sexual attraction, presumably coded for by some other gene/s that have been selected for ’cause, well, genes just “wanna” reproduce themselves, and if you mate with someone like yourself you wind up with little ‘uns who have LOTS of those genes.

sounds like an example of intragenomic conflict to me.

(note: comments do not require an email. cute bundle o’ genes!)

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2 Comments

  1. re: “the purpose of sex (whatever that might be — apart from fun, that is)”

    I must be missing something. To me it seems obvious that the purpose — or, rather, the biological advantage — of sex is that it permits simultaneous, independent evolution of every individual gene (in fact every independent base-pair) in the genome. Without sex there is no crossing-over, no shuffling, and therefore any advantageous or disadvantageous mutation is locked together with all rest of the genes in the organism. They must sink or swim together. But once the shuffling begins then an advantageous mutation can shake itself loose as it were from its less- and underprivileged brethern. With unisex bacteria whole organisms evolve. With meiosis and crossing-over (recombination, shuffling the deck) you get each and every bit of genetic code evolving in parallel. It’s not just disease resistance. It’s every last trait.

    Of course this doesn’t explain how sex got started. But, then, we don’t understand how life got started either. One miracle deserves another I guess.

    Reply

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