The evolutionary consequences of selfish genetic elements

Lindholm, AKP, T. A. R.,  Current Zoology,  62:655-658. 2016.

The traditional view of the genome was once that it is broadly cooperative, with all genes working together amicably to improve the success of the individual as a whole. Benefits to the individual, after all, benefit all the component genes, as fair Mendelian inheritance ensures that all the genes and alleles a parent carries are equally likely to be inherited by an offspring. However, more detailed studies of inheritance have shown that this rosy view of cooperation within the genome is untrue. Instead, many genes act selfishly, manipulating gametogenesis to bias transmission in their favor (Burt and Trivers 2006). This increases their representation in offspring at a cost to the fitness of the individual and the cooperative genes.