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The Fractal SelfScience, Philosophy, and the Evolution of Human Cooperation$
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John L. Culliney and David Jones

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824866617

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824866617.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Intimate Ark

Intimate Ark

Sex and Emergence

(p.81) 5 Intimate Ark
The Fractal Self

John L. Culliney

David Jones

University of Hawai'i Press

Among the greatest cooperative examples of biotic evolution that released a virtually unbounded world of complexity, particularly conspicuous among eukaryotic organisms, was the evolution of sex. In sex, each individual of a mating pair contributes part of its genetic makeup (genome) to offspring—always cells are the seminal agents of the genetic contribution from each self—that participate in an emergent new generation. Thus a self, upon engaging in sex, abandons a substantial portion of its integrity and weaves together a molecular-to-cellular-to-organismal fractal interface with a partner. Throughout the sexual world, self seeks a profound intimacy with non-self. The chapter first describes gene sharing by bacteria through conjugation, a prokaryotic version of sex. An allegory of dancing snakes metaphorically represents cellular reproduction by mitosis and the reduction divisions of chromosomes in meiosis, the basis of gene sharing in sex among eukaryotes. Genetic recombination via meiosis enormously accelerates the diverse expressions of myriad life forms. Among angiosperm plants, sex is manifest in immensely variable flowers and, with some exceptions, their colors and forms evolved in response to a profound cooperative imperative with animal partners that spread their pollen. Darwin’s major insight on sexual selection among animals has explained male-female dimorphisms from subtle to spectacular.

Keywords:   bacterial conjugation, mitosis, meiosis, genetic recombination, angiosperm diversity, sexual selection, sexual dimorphism, sexual identity

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