Talk:Selfish genetic element

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Don't Think[edit]

I don't think that microsatellites are an example of selfish DNA. I don't think that there is a preference for expansions over contractions. In other words, the microsatellite is just as likely to cause its own deletion as cause its own replication. AdamRetchless 18:59, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I agree. I've removed it. -R. S. Shaw 06:21, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Doolittle Credit for Hypothesis[edit]

Doesn't Doolittle and Sapienza and Orgel and Crick deserve the credit for the Selfish DNA hypothesis? GetAgrippa 00:03, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Pseudogenes are selfish DNA also.GetAgrippa 01:53, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Oops!! Didn't notice the references.GetAgrippa 02:10, 9 January 2007 (UTC)


I much prefer the title of Selfish genetic elements as more inclusive, and avoiding the presumption that they are 'genes' in the usual sense. There are, as the survey by Burt & Trivers shows. a vast array of SGEs.

While I'm on the topic, if you have access to Burt & Trivers (see 'Further reading'), please look at tables 1.3 p13/14; 12.1 p450/451; and table 12.3 p473/474. That will give you some idea of the range and importance of the topic. Macdonald-ross (talk) 13:37, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Agree with name change. It's also far more commonly used in the literature these days than 'Selfish DNA'. I've put in a move request. T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 02:37, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

A new version of this article is being prepared[edit]

The current version of this entry could benefit from a significant update. Following an invitation from PLoS Genetics Topic Pages initiative, we are preparing an extensively updated and expanded entry. The entry will be written by me (Arvid Ågren) and Andrew G. Clark from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetic, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

More information about Topic Pages can be found here

We will review diverse aspects of the biology of selfish genetic elements. The article will start with a historical sketch, outlining key empirical and conceptual milestones in the study of selfish genetic elements over the past century. Next, we explain the basic logic of what allows them to proliferate, describing the main ways by which this achieved. This will lead into a section on the mathematical theory for the regulation of copy number and evolution of selfish elements. We will then provide more detailed summaries for a number of examples of selfish genetic elements, ranging from meiotic drive to transposable elements. Finally, we will discuss some of the potential consequences of selfish genetic element activity, such as population extinction and reproductive isolation, as well as how these properties can be manipulated for practical use in biotechnology and agriculture.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Contact information: Arvid Ågren,

Arvidagren (talk) 13:42, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

The article mentioned by Arvidagren above is now published in PLOS Genetics.[1] I've copied across the content section-by-section to here and done minor reformatting to fit (e.g. remove fig numbers). The PLOSwiki server hasn't yet got citoid up and running so the references will need to be updated to CS1. I'll start addressing that tomorrow. T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 11:51, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Thankyou to those who assisted in formatting the references and copyedits. The author from the original PLOSwiki version has also nominated it for a DKY here. T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 01:20, 19 November 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Ågren, J. Arvid; Clark, Andrew G. (2018-11-15). "Selfish genetic elements". PLOS Genetics. 14 (11): e1007700. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1007700. ISSN 1553-7404.

A Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 13:15, 6 January 2019 (UTC)