Selfish DNA: the ultimate parasite

Nature. 1980 Apr 17;284(5757):604-7. doi: 10.1038/284604a0.


The DNA of higher organisms usually falls into two classes, one specific and the other comparatively nonspecific. It seems plausible that most of the latter originates by the spreading of sequences which had little or no effect on the phenotype. We examine this idea from the point of view of the natural selection of preferred replicators within the genome.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Replication
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Genes
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Heterogeneous Nuclear / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Time Factors


  • RNA, Heterogeneous Nuclear
  • RNA, Messenger
  • DNA