Jim Watson was the first person to sequence his own genome. Or perhaps it was Craig Venter. Then it was George Church, Misha Angrist, Steven Pinker, the PGP 10, San Francisco 8, and the Jackson 5. Now, Dick Dorkins, evolutionary biologist and President of the atheistic Society for the Prevention of Intelligent design, Theology, Or Other Nonsense (SPITOON) has attempted to sequence his own genome. But it simply can’t be bothered to be sequenced.
Dorkins is best known for his book, The Self-Indulgent Gene (1986), which argued that evolution acts at the level of college students. Keggers, bad tattoos, intramural sports, and sleeping through poli sci seminars, he argued, were simply contemporary expressions of the ancient evolutionary drive to fuck off. Humans, Dorkins wrote, were hard-wired to oversleep for tests, oversell their achievements and ideas, sleep with their best friend’s partner, and get hammered the night before job interviews. Dorkins believes self-promotion and slacking are not only human nature; they are a key driver of natural selection.
The reason lies in our DNA. Early in human evolution, those individuals who did the least work tended to survive to have the most offspring, because while everyone else was out hunting and gathering, the slackers were cuckolding everyone they could get their hairy hands on. As a result, when the rest of the clan returned, the slow, lazy, and generally clueless had appointed themselves chief and controlled the clan.
In sequencing his own genome, Dorkins boldly put his theories to the ultimate test. And his genes spoke. “Dude, WTF?, It’s not even breakfast time,” they said, despite the fact that it was well past noon when researchers ran Dorkins’s DNA through their new high-throughput automated sequencers. And then the sequencers clogged, stalled, and ultimately crashed. Dorkins’s colossally self-centered and bored genes would not be sequenced.
“It was a total mess,” said Dirk Erlenmeyer, a technician at GenesRUs, the company that did the sequencing. “Nucleotides just spilled out onto the floor, As, C, Gs, and Ts, everywhere underfoot, crunching like cockroaches wherever you walked. The floor was literally crawling with DNA.” Doing an an uncanny imitation of Monty Python’s Terry Jones, Erlenmeyer said, “Bleagh!” It has taken days to get the lab cleaned up; it will take even longer to explain what happened.
The result has researchers scrambling for answers. In the early years of genomics, it was believed that long stretches of DNA were too difficult to be sequenced, because they were too repetitive; shotgun sequencing methods were thought useless.
It turns out that large sections of our chromosomes are simply unwilling to be sequenced. According to the results of a Genome-Wide Inference Study (GWIS, pronounced “Gee-whiz”), up to 20 percent of genomes flat-out refuse to be sequenced, whether out of arrogance, petulance, or sheer ennui.
The results could have far-reaching implications. Evolutionary psychologists claim that Dorkins’s self-indulgent gene thesis could explain much about contemporary politics. Preliminary results indicate 95% homology between those intractable regions of Dorkins’s DNA and certain key genes in US Congressmen. Those genes, once labeled “feeblemindedness” in bygone, politically incorrect days, are now included in genome profiles for intelligence. Alas, presence of these sequences have been shown to lower IQ by some 40 points.
Some researchers are claiming that DNA results prove that unenlightened self-interest has taken root at the heart of American politics. “DNA results prove that unenlightened self-interest has taken root at the heart of American politics,” said C. M. Ishmael, author of a potent recent study on thalassophilia.
Science continues to search for answers.