Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > Genes and the Central Fallacy of Evolutionary Theory > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

The organism manages its own germline (1)

Before we claim that the organism’s embodied wisdom and experience in pursuing its own development can have nothing to do with heredity and evolution, we might want to ask ourselves whether any creature should be less expert at managing its reproductive organs and gametes in relation to their distinctive purposes and environmental context than it is at managing its heart, lungs, and legs.

When a sexually reproducing organism such as a mammal undertakes to establish and maintain its germline, it must employ its powers of differentiation to the fullest. The end product of this differentiation is a type of cell — a gamete — at least as specialized as any other cell of the body. At the same time, this gamete, along with the entire lineage leading up to it, must retain the potential to yield the totipotent zygote. That is, despite its commitment to a highly specialized, reproductive function unlike that of any other cell type in the body, the germline cell must at the same time preserve within itself the flexibility and freedom that will be required for producing every cellular lineage of a new organism.

It’s an extraordinary mandate, and the organism must focus extraordinary powers of development upon the task. ...

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