I read this in a paper

Keller and Ross describe their greenbeard gene as an ‘outlaw’. Admittedly, the comment is only made in passing, but are they correct? In this context an outlaw is usually defined as a gene whose action favours itself, but opposes the reproductive interests of the individual organism. Where there are outlaws, natural selection at different loci is pulling the organism in different directions. Theoretically speaking, green-beard genes...

Yes: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140175083901562

Basically loving your children is outlaw because it makes you sacrifice resources for your children. However, if your interest is defined as maximizing the number of children, then it's just your stuff working properly. Outlaw genes will be something that makes you die for a cause or stuff like that I suppose.

  • $\begingroup$ It's a gene that motivate the host to kill individual that don't have that genes. $\endgroup$ – user4951 Jun 11 '12 at 8:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Okay, a good edit, but what is your actual question now? $\endgroup$ – jonsca Jun 11 '12 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ Are there genes that survive well in the genepool in ways that hurt their hosts' gene pool survival. That is the definition of outlaw genes. $\endgroup$ – user4951 Jun 12 '12 at 4:26

The t locus, which is described in detail in this book by Robert Trivers, is the classic 'outlaw' or 'selfish' gene.

If a heterozygous (single) t allele is present in the paternal mouse, the t locus is evident in sperm 95% of the time. Talk about "Breakin' the Law"! As a locus whose main phenotype seems to be for mitotic cheating, t seems to convey little or no benefit to the other genes by way of helping the host survive. t/t homozygotes are sterile. Nice summary here.


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