Conflicting messages: genomic imprinting and internal communication
Behavioural ecology and cell biology both use the language of communication and signalling. In cell biology, signaller and receiver are cells of a single body or molecules encoded by a single genome and are implicitly assumed to have identical evolutionary interests. The signaller does not have an incentive to deceive. In behavioural ecology, signaller and receiver are different genetic individuals, with possibly conflicting evolutionary interests. Signallers may have an incentive to deceive, so receivers must decide whether signals can be trusted. However, we now know conflicts within genomes are possible. This raises questions about how internal conflicts influence signalling between and within individual organisms. These questions are explored using the example of genomic imprinting.
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