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Are We Selfish or Smart?

hannahgisele's picture

Thursday’s discussion group made me consider the extinction of certain genes from our genetic makeup. While the idea of certain qualities dying out is romantic and self-important (i.e. pointing to certain traits as ‘special ones’ worth passing down), a classmate of mine voiced the point that recessive genes do not disappear entirely from populations. Instead, they may lie dormant until they are joined with other recessive genes. In this way, people carrying such recessive genes may not be expressing their traits phenotypically, but they are carrying them amongst all the other recessive genes that are denied expression.

 

Are recessive and dominant genes our way of self-selecting our own traits? Even if we don’t have agency when it comes to deciding which genes are dominant or recessive, we still have the opportunity to select our mates and therefore, to influence the appearance of our offspring. As superficial beings, we are exercising the opportunity to further certain traits within our species. Rather than viewing this as a negative aspect in our way of thinking, I’m beginning to wonder if this is instead, a biologically driven will to enhance the probability of certain more desirable genes in our offspring to come.

 

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