The sociobiology of genes: the gene’s eye view as a unifying behavioural-ecological framework for biological evolution

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (1):1-26 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Although classical evolutionary theory, i.e., population genetics and the Modern Synthesis, was already implicitly ‘gene-centred’, the organism was, in practice, still generally regarded as the individual unit of which a population is composed. The gene-centred approach to evolution only reached a logical conclusion with the advent of the gene-selectionist or gene’s eye view in the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas classical evolutionary theory can only work with (genotypically represented) fitness differences between individual organisms, gene-selectionism is capable of working with fitness differences among genes within the same organism and genome. Here, we explore the explanatory potential of ‘intra-organismic’ and ‘intra-genomic’ gene-selectionism, i.e., of a behavioural-ecological ‘gene’s eye view’ on genetic, genomic and organismal evolution. First, we give a general outline of the framework and how it complements the—to some extent—still ‘organism-centred’ approach of classical evolutionary theory. Secondly, we give a more in-depth assessment of its explanatory potential for biological evolution, i.e., for Darwin’s ‘common descent with modification’ or, more specifically, for ‘historical continuity or homology with modular evolutionary change’ as it has been studied by evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) during the last few decades. In contrast with classical evolutionary theory, evo-devo focuses on ‘within-organism’ developmental processes. Given the capacity of gene-selectionism to adopt an intra-organismal gene’s eye view, we outline the relevance of the latter model for evo-devo. Overall, we aim for the conceptual integration between the gene’s eye view on the one hand, and more organism-centred evolutionary models (both classical evolutionary theory and evo-devo) on the other.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,549

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The genome as a developmental organ.Ehud Lamm - 2014 - Journal of Physiology 592 (11):2237-2244.
Causing and Composing Evolution: Lessons from Evo-Devo Mechanisms.Cristina Villegas - 2023 - In João L. Cordovil, Gil Santos & Davide Vecchi (eds.), New Mechanism Explanation, Emergence and Reduction. Springer. pp. 61-83.

Analytics

Added to PP
2023-08-29

Downloads
17 (#884,312)

6 months
13 (#282,484)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

References found in this work

Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2009 - Critica 41 (123):162-170.
The Return of the Gene.Kim Sterelny & Philip Kitcher - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):339.
Evolution: The Modern Synthesis.Julian Huxley - 1944 - Science and Society 8 (1):90-93.
Is evolvability evolvable?Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Nature Reviews Genetics 9:75-82.
The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today.Helen Cronin - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):122-138.

View all 24 references / Add more references