The ‘selfish gene’ concept, popularised by Richard Dawkins, posits that genes are the primary drivers of evolution, with individual organisms merely vessels for their propagation. This theory, while influential, has been challenged by experts who argue that it oversimplifies the complexities of evolution. Critics highlight the role of cooperation and altruism in species survival, phenomena that seemingly contradict the ‘selfish’ gene model. They underscore the significance of group selection, where traits beneficial to a group’s survival can outweigh those beneficial to an individual.

Moreover, new discoveries in molecular biology have further complicated the picture. Epigenetics, for instance, shows that environmental factors can influence gene expression without altering the genetic code. This suggests that genes are not the sole arbiters of an organism’s fate, but part of a complex interplay with its environment.

Another point of contention is the gene-centric view of organisms as passive vehicles. Critics argue that organisms are active agents in their own evolution, citing examples like the beaver, which alters its environment to suit its needs, thereby affecting its own evolutionary trajectory.

In conclusion, while the ‘selfish gene’ theory has been instrumental in shaping our understanding of evolution, it is increasingly seen as an oversimplification. A more nuanced view acknowledges the role of cooperation, environmental factors, and the agency of organisms in shaping evolutionary outcomes.

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