(in informal use) a unit of heredity that is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring:
“proteins coded directly by genes”
(in technical use) a distinct sequence of nucleotides forming part of a chromosome, the order of which determines the order of monomers in a polypeptide or nucleic acid molecule which a cell (or virus) may synthesize.
I never knew this until recently, but a grain of rice has more genes (50,000) than humans (about 25,000). You would think a more advanced creature like us would have more, but scientists theorize that rice has been around longer, and had had to make more adaptations, thus creating more genes. An organism can never reduce its number of genes, but they can be added over time but the influence of environmental factors. Genetically the two fish below are brown trout. The first one has evolved in the environment of northern Europe.
The second has evolved in Italy.
There are many more isolated populations with color morphs more drastic, but they are all salmo trutta. The color morphs reflect the effect local environments have on the species. When they reproduce in the isolated rivers where the morphs are distinctly different, the offspring resemble the immediate parentage, that is to say they are evolving in to a very different sub-species.
Can the same be said to be true for humans political evolution? Has our species had enough time in the environment of democracy to take on unique characteristics? The politics of Iceland, or Sweden seem so very different from Italy or the US. In politics, as in the animal world, do superior traits win out? Or asked this way, will the US ever get to the point of being close to the Nordic countries? Are they on a different evolutionary path?