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selectonSelekton (ger.)

  • A unit that underlies selection.

    In 1957, Benzer argued that ›the gene‹ could no longer continue as a single, unitary concept. He split it into three [...] I have suggested adding a fourth unit, the optimon, the unit of natural selection. Independently, E. Mayr (personal communication) coined the term ›selecton‹ to serve the same purpose. The optimon (or selecton) is the ›something‹ to which we refer when we speak of an adaptation as being ›for the good of‹ something.  

    Dawkins, R. (1982). The Extended Phenotype: 81.
    A selecton is a discrete entity and a cohesive whole, an individual or a social group, the survival and successful reproduction of which is favored by selection owing to its possession of certain properties. The selecton is the answer to Sober’s question ›selection of?‹
    Mayr, E. (1997). The objects of selection. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94, 2091-2094: 2093.