Organisms can be treated as optimizers when there is consensus among their genes about what is best to be done, but genomic consensus is often lacking, especially in interactions among kin because kin share some genes but not others. Grafen adopts a majoritarian perspective in which an individual’s interests are identified with the interests of the largest coreplicon of its genome, but genomic imprinting and recombination factionalize the genome so that no faction may predominate in some interactions among kin. Once intragenomic conflicts are recognized, the individual organism can be conceptualized as an arbiter among competing interests within a collective. Organismal adaptation can be recognized without phenotypes being optimized.
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