TD04 – The First Replicator

Question: What is the most powerful trick in the universe?
Answer: Replicators!

Long, long ago, in the billions of years, a molecule somehow happened that was different to all other molecules that had ever existed. The unique difference was that this molecule could copy itself. It could replicate.

Once replication got under way–over those billions of years of evolutionary time and by an ongoing process of trial and error–from this special molecule evolved DNA and genes and subsequently everything that has ever lived on the planet.

The design energy behind natural selection is replicator power. Replicator power is the breathtaking process behind the evolutionary design of our biosphere. For 15 billion years replicator power has been on the job. If genes couldn’t replicate, then you wouldn’t be reading this now because neither you nor I nor screens and words would ever have existed.

Genetic replication is a very clever trick and is certainly the most powerful fact of life that we know of.

From Natural Selection to Volitional Selection

‘Natural selection’, as Charles Darwin explained, is how the fittest organisms are the one’s who are selected by nature to survive long enough to reproduce and pass on their fitness.

Later in 1953, Crick & Watson showed how this was achieved at the molecular level by DNA in the genes. The biological design of all living things arises out of the gene wars being waged over who gets selected for the next generation. The first replicator – the gene – had now been discovered by science.

dna-imageToday, science has developed such a comprehensive understanding of how this process, genetics, works that we now have genetic engineering and the reality of ‘volitional selection’ which is the ability to by-pass natural selection and to choose which genes we want to survive and replicate.

Humanity is now faced with the ability to modify genes and to choose specific outcomes. How will we make these choices? Much will depend on the quality of our thinking.

DFQ  (Feedback Question):

What is the clever thing that genes do?

227 thoughts on “TD04 – The First Replicator

  1. The clever idea or scientific insight that is now called the selfish gene, is built upon the lateral thinking that genes are not a way organisms get themselves copied but organisms are the way genes get themselves copied. To this concept we add that if an organism survives long enough to reproduce then copies of its genetic programs are passed on to its offspring. Selfish genes are simply those that are copied ahead of those that aren’t..

  2. Being the genes that get copied first but putting themselves ahead of the rest. The theory can also be used in business and personal life by having the ideas that will put you ahead of the others, this for some will include stepping on others to get to that point but that becomes it’s own moral dilemma and shows a persons true character.

  3. Best example of a selfish gene that I can think of is when a child has it’s mothers eyes but the hair colour of the father. Genes from the mothers eyes were more selfish than her hair genes, and the opposite for the father.

  4. Selfish genes replicate themselves whenever the opportunity arises, these genes keep the replication process going. To try and make the concept more visual, the idea of a gene building a elephant just to replicate shows just how veracious these genes are for self replication.

  5. The Replicators sole purpose is to be copied therefore it is referred to as the selfish gene.

  6. this sounds a lot like survival of the fittest,the survivors are the fittest and therefore worthy of being copied .

  7. Selfish genes are people. we all function differently – most get themselves. When required we can copy others or do our own thing.

  8. The fittest survive long enough to replicate and create copies passing on signatures of the original.

  9. “Selfish genes get themselves copied ahead of those that don’t.”
    “genes are selfish per se; it simply refers to those genes that, at the end of the day, do ‘get themselves’ copied ahead of those who don’t.” (as above)

  10. Instead of creating new genetic material, the genes creat exact copies of their own genetic material by replicating themselves, that is a clever trick they do , because by replicating themselves the genes can keep their identity fixed, and also can survive in selection conditions.

  11. Genes replicate and disseminate their genetic information from generation to generation. This is important because it creates a choice or a direction for natural selection. Nature is moved in the direction of genes and their products better able to survive in a particular environment.

  12. Replicate their origins, change, replicate some more, stay the same and form a species or genus and so on.

    Replication is amazing but the fact they do so over and over again and create new versions of everything is even more amazing.

  13. the genes have ability to continue their existence via replication… I wonder if this is the most basic choice available to nature and genes .

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