The Selfish Gene covers all animal and plant life, but I have concentrated on human genes. 

 

We are the sum of our genetic make-up. Genes have evolved and live through us. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution should be renamed The Theory of Genetic Evolution because without the genes to progressively transform the next generation we would never evolve. Genes survive by choosing the right host body in which to thrive, much like a parasite does. If it chooses a body that dies before maturity it too will die and their genes will not be passed to the next generation. Throughout our evolution genes have been  thriving where humans thrive and failing when we do.

  

 

It is our bit of immortality. The information that genes carry is replicated almost exactly through the ages. What changes is our DNA which morphs with each generation. Genes are a short strand of DNA which merge with different genes each time we reproduce. Successful genes (good at building bodies and controlling the process of reproduction) make up our chromosomes; they determine our gender, our ability to reproduce and how long we live.

This book has given me an extra layer of understanding to add to my two quilts Getting under my skin and Woman’s Work. I wanted to get under the skin of us all and try in a visual way to play with what makes us unique but that fundamentally we are the same no matter what colour we are or where we come from.

Chromosomes with part of a DNA strand (Illustration)

Individuals are not stable things, they are fleeting. Chromosomes too are shuffled into oblivion, like hands of cards soon after they are dealt. But the cards themselves survive the shuffling. The cards are the genes.

Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene