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Review Article
Nature 284, 601 - 603 (17 April 1980); doi:10.1038/284601a0

Selfish genes, the phenotype paradigm and genome evolution

W. Ford Doolittle & Carmen Sapienza

Department of Biochemistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4H7

Natural selection operating within genomes will inevitably result in the appearance of DNAs with no phenotypic expression whose only ‘function’ is survival within genomes. Prokaryotic transposable elements and eukaryotic middle-repetitive sequences can be seen as such DNAs, and thus no phenotypic or evolutionary function need be assigned to them.

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