The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene
In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins crystallized the gene's eye view of evolution developed by W.D. Hamilton and others. The book provoked widespread and heated debate. Written in part as a response, The Extended Phenotype gave a deeper clarification of the central concept of the gene as the unit of selection; but it did much more besides. In it, Dawkins extended the gene's eye view to argue that the genes that sit within an organism have an influence that reaches out beyond the visible traits in that body - the phenotype - to the wider environment, which can include other individuals. So, for instance, the genes of the beaver drive it to gather twigs to produce the substantial physical structure of a dam; and the genes of the cuckoo chick produce effects that manipulate the behaviour of the host bird, making it nurture the intruder as one of its own. This notion of the extended phenotype has proved to be highly influential in the way we understand evolution and the natural world. It represents a key scientific contribution to evolutionary biology, and it continues to play an important role in research in the life sciences. The Extended Phenotype is a conceptually deep book that forms important reading for biologists and students. But Dawkins' clear exposition is accessible to all who are prepared to put in a little effort. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - setnahkt - LibraryThing
This book followed The Selfish Gene and is generally considered a more rigorous treatment of the same theme: that the gene, not the organism or species, is the “unit” of natural selection. I’m not ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing
Couldn't quite make it through this one either - I just don't have the training and curiosity isn't enough for non-geniuses like me. And it's old - I pretty much take for granted the idea that he presented so ground-breakingly back then. Read full review
2 Genetic Determinism and Gene Selectionism
3 Constraints on Perfection
4 Arms Races and Manipulation
5 The Active GermLine Replicator
Replicators or Vehicles?
7 Selfish Wasp or Selfish Strategy?
8 Outlaws and Modifiers
12 Host Phenotypes of Parasite Genes
13 Action at a Distance
14 Rediscovering the Organism