Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/72823
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Type: Journal article
Title: Selection without replicators: the origin of genes, and the replicator/interactor distinction in etiobiology
Author: Wilkins, J.
Stanyon, C.
Musgrave, I.
Citation: Biology & Philosophy, 2012; 27(2):215-239
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0169-3867
1572-8404
Statement of
Responsibility: 
John S. Wilkins, Clem Stanyon, Ian Musgrave
Abstract: Genes are thought to have evolved from long-lived and multiply-interactive molecules in the early stages of the origins of life. However, at that stage there were no replicators, and the distinction between interactors and replicators did not yet apply. Nevertheless, the process of evolution that proceeded from initial autocatalytic hypercycles to full organisms was a Darwinian process of selection of favourable variants. We distinguish therefore between Neo-Darwinian evolution and the related Weismannian and Central Dogma divisions, on the one hand, and the more generic category of Darwinian evolution on the other. We argue that Hull's and Dawkins' replicator/interactor distinction of entities is a sufficient, but not necessary, condition for Darwinian evolution to take place. We conceive the origin of genes as a separation between different types of molecules in a thermodynamic state space, and employ a notion of reproducers.
Keywords: Gene; Origins of life; Etiobiology; Hypercycle; Autocatalysis; Natural selection; Neo-Darwinism; Replicator; Interactor; Reproducer; Weismann; Dawkins; Hull
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
RMID: 0020116558
DOI: 10.1007/s10539-011-9298-7
Appears in Collections:Pharmacology publications

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