‘Selfish’ DNA flouts rules of inheritance | Science News

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‘Selfish’ DNA flouts rules of inheritance

R2d2 can quickly spread to an entire mouse population despite its evolutionary disadvantage

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8:00am, February 24, 2016
mouse

DNA TAKEOVER  A selfish bit of DNA called R2d2 was first discovered in mice in Maryland called Watkins Star Line B, or WSB (one shown). That selfish DNA can sweep through populations, distorting views of evolution.

In the Star Wars movies, the droid R2D2 is a heroic rebel. In living animals, a selfish bit of DNA called R2d2 is an outright lawbreaker. It violates laws of both genetic inheritance and Darwinian evolution. R2d2 can sweep through mouse populations by mimicking helpful mutations while actually damaging fertility, researchers report online February 15 in Molecular Biology and Evolution.

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