Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Mute Agents

It seems to me that in evolution, a number of the useful mutations that survived are much more likely to have happened in the female than the male. Three primary reasons:

  1. During pregnancy/rearing for species where the mother is not dependent on a pack or a partner, the mother could survive during a crisis (a la punctuated equilibrium) while the father could be long dead due to lack of that mutation
  2. New habits/adaptations that have a learning element to them could be taught by the mother, who in many species raises the litter
  3. For mutations that benefit the whole species, the X-chromosome specific traits are more important than the Y-specific ones. Additionally, any innovation from mDNA would have to pass from the mother (but ... maybe this latter point is irrelevant - is mDNA something where beneficial mutations can be fruitful or is it stable/background enough that it won't make a difference?)
Of course, since this just popped into my head this morning, I might be utterly wrong, and very likely am not original. Qualified people are encouraged to comment, and other scientific "laypeople" too :P I am amused to call science-interested university-educated people that, even if it is common.

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