Selfish genes, the phenotype paradigm and genome evolution

Nature. 1980 Apr 17;284(5757):601-3. doi: 10.1038/284601a0.


Natural selection operating within genomes will inevitably result in the appearance of DNAs with no phenotypic expression whose only 'function' is survival within genomes. Prokaryotic transposable elements and eukaryotic middle-repetitive sequences can be seen as such DNA's and thus no phenotypic or evolutionary function need be assigned to them.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology*
  • Phenotype*
  • Selection, Genetic


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA