‘Selfish’ DNA flouts rules of inheritance | Science News

Be a Champion for Science

Get your subscription to

Science News when you join.


News

‘Selfish’ DNA flouts rules of inheritance

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

By
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.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News