Tma02 Option1 Essay

1017 Words5 Pages
Part I Essay Explain what is meant by the claim that ‘selection the survival of genes within the individual’ (page 121). Discuss whether this ‘selfish gene’ theory could explain the evolution of altruistic behaviour. Barrett’s claim that ‘selection refers not to the survival of the species but instead to the survival of the genes within the individual, as it is not the individual that persists over time but rather the genes ’ (as cited in Phoenix, 2007, p.121) can be explained with the selection processes, natural and sexual selection. The first part of this essay will explain these two processes and the main reason genes strive to survive within an individual, known as the ‘selfish gene’ theory. The second part of the essay will be used to discuss the evolution of altruistic behaviour and whether or not the ‘selfish gene’ theory could explain it . Darwin’s use of the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ is frequently misunderstood. Many people assume that ‘the fittest’ refers to the strongest, or smartest and most cunning individuals. From an evolutionary perspective, the fittest individuals are those with a combination of traits (an inherited characteristic due to genetic factors, independent of learning or experience), that allow them to survive its environment and flourish within it to produce more offspring . First proposed by Darwin and Wallace in 1858, Natural selection is recognised as a primary mechanism of evolution. The principal of natural selection asserts that the range of inheritable variation of traits in a population, those that contribute to an organism’s survival are those most likely to be passed on to the next generation. Hence, the contribution to succeeding generations are not random but are selected by the natural process of the viability of traits. According to Barrett et al (2002), natural selection has three premises:
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