Programmed Aging Theory Information Gene-Centered Evolutionary Mechanics Theories


In 1975 Richard Dawkins published what is probably the most popular description of a gene-centered evolutionary mechanics theory in his book The Selfish Gene. This concept, like the evolvability theory is largely based on genetics discoveries. More particularly, genes are a specific genetic data structure within the design of the biological inheritance system.  It is the genes that carry instructions as to the species-specific design of the organism.  Briefly, Dawkins points out that members of the same species share virtually all the same functional genetic data (genes) with only minor differences. Further, development of the genes required very substantial evolutionary time. "Genes live longer than species." Different mammals share functionally similar genes. Therefore, for example, an animal protecting a non-related member of the same species is still promoting propagation of "its own" genes to a very great extent.


Dawkins proposed the selfish gene theory as an explanation for animal altruism but it is applicable to other observations that conflict with traditional theory. Like the other alternative evolutionary mechanics theories, gene-oriented theories represent an expansion of the evolutionary benefit concept beyond individuals and their direct descendents. The gene-centered concept essentially includes group selection and evolvability concepts. If you believe that benefit to genes can compensate for an individual disadvantage then surely benefit to survival of a group of the same species also benefits genes and a benefit to evolvability of a species or population also benefits genes. Therefore a theory of aging that works for group selection or evolvability should also make gene-oriented theorists happy.

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