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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse The Selfish Gene for
describing how genes are the ultimate survival machines.

The Selfish Gene
The Selfish Gene Can Also Be A Subtle Gene
By Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene (1989) - 352 pages
The Selfish Gene at Amazon.com

Four thousand million years ago molecules with the power to make copies of themselves first appeared on this planet. What was to be the fate of these ancient replicators? They did not die out: They are masters of the survival arts. But do not look for them floating loose in the sea; they gave up that cavalier freedom long ago. Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, manipulating the outside world by remote control. They are in all of us: they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the sole reason for our existence. They skip like chamois, free and untrammeled down the generations, temporarily brought together in throwaway survival machines, immortal coils shuffling off an endless succession of mortal ones as they forge towards their separate eternities. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.

What does it take for a gene to be good at surviving? Total selfishness. So must bodies too be selfish? Must we live in a world of savage competition, ruthless exploitation and deceit? By no means. The selfish gene is also the subtle gene. By devious routes, gene selfishness can manifest itself as bodily altruism. Moreover, our own species, uniquely, can see through the designs of selfish genes, and rebel against them. This book is both manual and manifesto. It is no dry academic exercise. It grips like a thriller. We meet kamikaze bees committing certain suicide to defend copies of the suicide genes in their living companions; ants taking slaves and tending fungus gardens; vampire bats donating blood to their less fortunate companions; parasites castrating their crab host, fattening it up like a bullock for their own consumption.

The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins's brilliant first book and still his most famous, is an international bestseller in thirteen languages. It helped change the whole study of social biology, and caused thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life. In this new and considerably expanded edition, endnotes have been added, giving fascinating reflections on the original text, and there are two important new chapters. "Nice Guys Finish First" is named after the BBC television program presented by Dawkins. 'The Long Reach of the Gene' puts forward the startling view, originally proposed in Dawkins's The Extended Phenotype, that genes may reach outside the bodies in which they sit, manipulating other individuals and, indeed, the world at large.

Richard Dawkins was born in 1941. Educated at Oxford University, he remained there to work for his doctorate with the Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Niko Tinbergen. From 1967 to 1969 he was Assistant Professor of Zoology at Oxford University and a Fellow of New College. His other books are The Extended Phenotype, which is also published by Oxford University Press, and The Blind Watchmaker.

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The Selfish Gene
The Selfish Gene Can Also Be A Subtle Gene
By Richard Dawkins

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse The Selfish Gene for
describing how genes are the ultimate survival machines.