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vehicleVehikel (ger.)

  • a plasmid or bacteriophage possessing a functional replicator site, and containing a genetic marker to facilitate its selective recognition, used to transport foreign genes into recipient cells during recombinant DNA experiments. (Oxford Dict. of Genetics 2007)

    Die Replikatoren fingen an, nicht mehr einfach nur zu existieren, sondern für sich selbst Behälter zu konstruieren, Vehikel für den Fortbestand ihrer Existenz. Die Replikatoren, die überlebten, waren jene, die Überlebensmaschinen bauten, um darin zu leben.

    Dawkins, R. (1976). The Selfish Gene (Germ. Das egoistische Gen, Berlin 1978): 23.


    Selection means differential survival, and the units which survive in the long run are not individuals but replicators (genes or small fragments of genome). They survive by virtue of their phenotypic outcomes, to be sure, but these are best interpreted not exclusively at the individual level, but in terms of the doctrine of the extended phenotype.

    Dawkins, R. (1978). Replicator selection and the extended phenotype. Z. Tierpsychol. 47, 61-76: 62. 


    Evolution is the external and visible manifestation of the differential survival of alternative replicators (Dawkins 1978a). Genes are replicators; organisms and groups of organisms are best not regarded as replicators; they are vehicles in which replicators travel about.

    Dawkins, R. (1982). The Extended Phenotype: 82. 


    Evolution results from the differential survival of replicators. Genes are replicators; organisms and groups of organisms are not replicators, they are vehicles in which replicators travel about. Vehicle selection is the process by which some vehicles are more successful than other vehicles in ensuring the survival of their replicators. […] But just as we had a nested hierarchy of would-be replicators—small and large fragments of genome—so there is a hierarchy of nested vehicles. Chromosomes and cells are gene vehicles within organisms. In many species organisms are not dispersed randomly but go around in groups. Multi-species groups form communities or ecosystems. At any of these levels the concept of vehicle is potentially applicable. Vehicle selection is the differential success of vehicles in propagating the replicators that ride inside them. In theory selection may occur at any level of the hierarchy.

    Dawkins, R. (1982). Replicators and vehicles. In: King’s College Sociobiology Group (ed.). Current Problems in Sociobiology, 45-64: 46; 50-1.