The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene

The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene

People commonly view evolution as a process of competition between individuals—known as “survival of the fittest”—with the individual representing the “unit of selection.” Richard Dawkins offers a controversial reinterpretation of that idea in The Extended Phenotype, now being reissued to coincide with the publication of the second edition of his highly-acclaimed The Selfish Gene. He proposes that we look at evolution as a battle between genes instead of between whole organisms. We can then view changes in phenotypes—the end products of genes, like eye color or leaf shape, which are usually considered to increase the fitness of an individual—as serving the evolutionary interests of genes.

Dawkins makes a convincing case that considering one’s body, personality, and environment as a field of combat in a kind of “arms race” between genes fighting to express themselves on a strand of DNA can clarify and extend the idea of survival of the fittest. This influential and controversial book illuminates the complex world of genetics in an engaging, lively manner.

Title:The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780192880512
Format Type:

    The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene Reviews

  • Krishan

    The book is a logical continuation of his devastating book The Selfish Gene. Here Dawkins turns his critical eye and razor sharp words to evolutionary views that take the individual organism as the d...

  • Michael Korbakov

    Great but fatiguingContrary to Dawkin's most famous "Selfish Gene" this book is much more difficult to read for a non-biologist person. Some parts required me to google terms definitions and problem b...

  • Peter

    The essentials of life's story: Biodiversity is more than a buzzword for ecologists. Variation gives life its grandeur, and Richard Dawkins gives us a description of the workings of variation. Fortuna...

  • Svetlana

    The language of the book cannot be called simple and it takes some efforts to follow the authors reasoning, but these efforts will reap big reward. In process of reading you will experience the happin...

  • Pink

    I'm sure this is great, but I'm not a scientist and as one of Dawkins least accessible books, this one was overkill. It's an expansion of topics covered in The Selfish Gene, which I'd previously enjoy...

  • Sheng Peng

    2015: Built upon and more advanced than The Selfish Gene. Readers beware!2017: Re-read this after re-reading The Selfish Gene. It definitely makes more sense to me this time around....

  • People say my name should be Jeff

    I'd give it 5 stars if I knew enough biology to be able to confirm it (or 1 if I could refute it)....

  • Ben

    First half 3*, Second 5*This is a good book. Off the back of reading The Selfish Gene, and reading that The Extended Phenotype is Dawkin's favourite of his products, I was expecting big things. From t...

  • Tien Manh

    Richard Dawkins asks us (again) to try to think of evolution in terms of selfish *genes*.The book promotes concepts called replicators (genes, DNA) and vehicles (organisms, groups, species...). Exampl...

  • Harry H.

    Dawkins is a contemporary genius with fresh perspectives in several fields. Good read....