all lifeforms alive today want to live and reproduce as much as possible, because those with differing ideas are extinct or about to be.

Clearly the meaning of life is nothing else but to keep your DNA alive for as much possible, either by avoid death or by creating semi-clones of yourself, also known as children. One obsessive individual who really wants to win the game of life, realized that killing anything is counter productive. Killing any human being means killing any of your 50th grade cousins, that's a piece of your DNA destroyed, free points lost, so that's out of the way.

He realized that also all animals and plants on earth are distant cousins, so no killing cousins, that out of the way too.

He also realized that the more educated and richer the country, the less reproductive growth it can achieve.

He also realized that most humans who have been killed, were killed by humans, apparently those closer to you are the most dangerous animals, which is a problem.


So the question would be, given enough resources and actual modern day technology, what is the most efficient way to spread as much DNA as possible?

an easy answer would be to just have as many children as possible, but then how is one supposed to know for certain that those children will not try to rebel and kill you? All famous stories start with father and sons fighting and sometimes even brothers killing one another. Someone who want's to win the game of life probably doesn't want to be killed by his own blood. After all, the ones more likelly to kill you is rarely a complete stranger, kind of related statistic ; 40% of dead women were killed by partners or ex partners and only 11% are killed by complete strangers and those are likelly mostly random car incidents.

Kind of ironic the double the side and also the truth behind the saying ''you are more likelly to be killed by the one who loves you the most'' cause passion kills and also because the most deadly disseases come from self indulgence and self acceptance so loving yourself is deadly, funny, kind of.... Does that mean that self hatred is the mean to immortality lol

  • $\begingroup$ Could you highlight the actual question, because I can't find it at present. Except the one about spreading DNA, but it doesn't say who's. $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2021 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit, but who's DNA? Do you mean spreading within a population (I assume)? $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2021 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ARogueAnt. anything having something remotely similar to me shares a piece of my own DNA, the more look alike the more DNA is shared. a Human and a rat are closer than a human and a tree, but still they are related to the same original parents. so it might as well be more efficient to spread your own DNA with a species far away from your own... I don't know maths... $\endgroup$
    – user88550
    Aug 17, 2021 at 14:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's an interesting multi-objective optimization here, which has confounded people since the dawn of time. One goal is to have as much of your DNA out there as possible, and the other is to have at least some of it last as long as possible. The balance of them seems to be quite a trick! $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Aug 17, 2021 at 15:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 17, 2021 at 16:06

6 Answers 6


Bulk synthesis of DNA in factories.

As the OP points out, really the only contestant in the game of life is the molecule DNA. All of the permutations are different schemes to gather resources and produce more DNA.

But biology is pathetically inefficient. For the endeavor bulk DNA will be produced in factories and churned out in awesome amounts. The energy will come from nuclear reactors. Fossil fuels will be used for their carbon, water from the ocean and nitrogen will be pulled out of the air. Enormous quantites of DNA will be synthesized and piled into musky heaps in the world's deserts. Along with the salt left over from desalinating the ocean water which will help preserve it.

For this goal as set out in the OP there is no quibbles about whose DNA or what it should code for. Code, schmode, anyway. Since the factory is making it the code doesn't matter. Nothing and no-one will be transcribing all this DNA. The code will be whatever it is. The main thing: DNA and lots of it. DNA wins!

  • $\begingroup$ like capital production but with genes! $\endgroup$
    – user88550
    Aug 17, 2021 at 15:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA... ... that's not me screaming, that's the DNA you might be printing $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2021 at 15:40

It's debatable how this is framed - and that matters when it comes to examining what exactly one is trying to spread. Just saying DNA isn't precise enough.

"Clearly the meaning of life is nothing else but to keep your DNA alive"

"Killing any human being means killing any of your 50th grade cousins, that's a piece of your DNA destroyed, free points lost, so that's out of the way."

In these two statements you shift from "your DNA" to effectively "any DNA". The problem with that is killing a distantly related individual can also make room for a more closely related individual. We see that play out, for example, with the tendency of some male animals to kill offspring that aren't directly related to them - so that the mother is then freed up to care for the male's directly-related offspring.

And of course it manifests in various other ways. In fact it seems inevitable that there will always be competition in ways like this - to preserve one's own genetics at the cost of others (whether by directly harming others or just consuming resources so that they don't). After all, resources are always finite. From a small puddle to a galaxy-spanning civilization, there's always a limit to the total number of individuals it can sustain. Consequently, that leads to the argument that life is inherently selfish, even down to the level of individual genes (The Selfish Gene).

So why does this matter? Well, who's DNA are we going to propagate? If we truly say we don't care, then why not pick the shortest DNA from the simplest single-celled organism we can find? (It probably won't be a particularly robust organism, but that wasn't really specified as a requirement).

But then, why pick the intact DNA strand of an entire organism at all? Why not a smaller segment of DNA? You could make a factory that just churns out sludge made up of the shortest segments possible incorporating each of the base pairs. It's still "DNA". It just doesn't do anything useful.

Of course if our solution of "winning the game of life" involves focusing our efforts on something that's doesn't qualify as alive then perhaps we've mistaken what it means to "win".

So lets re-frame it a little and say that winning means propagating some from(s) of Earth-based life as far as possible so that some version of life survives are long as possible. That keeps us at the level of things that are "alive" and focuses us towards things that are robust at survival and self-replication.

Thus what you'll generally want to look toward are bacteria / single-celled organisms, though in some cases larger-but-still-microscopic organisms might be good candidates (such as maybe Tardigrades). Larger more-complex organisms have a tendency to cause trouble for each other. (Just look at extinctions and such that humans have caused.)

Taking our selection of robust microscopic organisms, the next thing to do is spread them as much as possible. Not on Earth, but to every habitable plant we can get to.

The first step towards doing such could be sending probes to every star we can see. Each probe would carry canisters of dormant versions of our selected organisms. Upon getting near its destination star, the probe would try to detect all the potentially-habitable planets in orbit and then maneuver to drop its canisters on them. Ideally the organisms then spread over the planet, pushing toward the goal of having as much life as possible out there.

The next step could be the creation of machines capable of producing such probes as well as reproducing themselves - all with the prime directive of propagating life. So each would travel out to new planets, while bringing along life to colonize the planet. And then set to work producing more self-propagating machines, each of which scoop up some life to take along to new planets thus continuing the cycle indefinitely.

In theory this would continue on until the heat-death of the universe. So maybe you keep some sort of higher intelligence around to research if physics ever gives a way to avoid that end. But now we're very far into the future and speculation about what's possible.

One interesting thing to consider is what happens if our life runs into other life that independently arose elsewhere. Going back to the idea of limited resources, there will be competition between us and them. In this game of life is our DNA valued over their DNA-equivalent? It's basically just taking the question of who's DNA/life gets preserved to a higher level.


Became a sperm donor in multiple sperm banks. Then hack their computer systems.

If there is a limitation for modern day technology and realistically limited resources, many options, like genetic replication or assembling the biggest harem in history are not possible. From the remaining options, clandestinely spreading your genetic material through sperm banks looks like the best one. Eventually, the hack would be discovered - but then it will be too late.

This answer assumes that the protagonist is male (isn't it the "he" is the question?) But if it's a female who needs to spread her genes, the answer gets more complicated and maybe even not viable under today's technology level.


So the question would be, given enough resources and actual modern day technology, what is the most efficient way to spread as much DNA as possible?

Oh, that's easy, and most of the technology is readily available. It goes like this:

1 - Conquer the world.

2 - Kill or sterilize all males.

3 - Arrange for distribution of your sperm to any woman who wants a child. Along these lines, figuring out how to clone spermatozoa would be a good idea.

After this point, every child will have 50% (either an X or Y chromosome) of yours. That means that your DNA will be part of every human on Earth.

Can't do better than that.

Well, technically you CAN, but that will take more effort. And some technology we don't have yet. This line goes,

1 - Conquer the Earth.

2 - Kill everybody else.

3 - Clone yourself. There have been reports of human cloning, so this is not an issue technically.

Since this produces a population entirely made up of either males or females, let's consider the alternatives.

A - If you are a female, all your clones will be female. You'll need to keep cloning.

B - If you are a male, you'll need to develop the technology to induce the formation of a zygote, then extract the Y chromosome and replace it with an X chromosome from another cell. The resulting zygote (and eventual person) will be female but made entirely from your DNA. There are a couple of gotchas, though. First, if you harbor any lethal heterozygous recessives on your X chromosome, you're out of luck. Since both X chromosomes are identical, all heterozygous genes are effectively now homozygous - and you are dead. Second, of course - developing the technology to make the substitution is left as an exercise to the reader.


First, if we want to win the game of life, we need to define what "winning" is. Judging by the fact that you say killing anyone is counter-productive since they are, possibly quite distantly, related to you, you seem to define winning as something like "Having the most, and closest relatives". These would both be equally-weighted scoring methods. Measuring winning by just one or the other will result in a lot of ties; we want as few winners as possible. This seems like a good definition to me.

With this in mind, men clearly have a strong advantage over women; they can sire many more children than women. A man can theoretically impregnate a different woman every day, maybe more, whereas women can only get pregnant at most once every 9 months.

In real life, there have been many cases of fertility doctors secretly using their own sperm instead of a donor's when helping patients conceive. If you really want to win, you need to kick this method into high gear. Become exceedingly wealthy, how doesn't really matter. Use your wealth to buy a fertility clinic, and pay off doctors to help you with your scheme. Use the clinic to replace as many donor samples as possible with your own. Unlike in the real life examples, you're not just one doctor at the clinic, the whole institution is helping you, so you can do way better than the ~200 children Dr. Jan Karbaat allegedly fathered.


You would need it when colonizing a planet..

In that case, there is enough room for everyone and the kids won't protest to be put in a world allready overpopulated. Children are not forced into life in any way. My proposal is to introduce a system that would make gene mixing mainly IVF and independent of sex or marriage. It's done on a scientific basis: only genes with maximum distance are allowed to mix (=>kids). That is a very simple criterium, not determining any characteristics.

Set out for optimal genetic diversity

Limited diversity in a starting population would become an issue, when emigration to a planet is very expensive, or only possible once in thousand years. In such a case, you start out with a very small population and gene diversity is optimized up front, when selecting the crew. Of course, sperm can be taken along with the travel, but time will be limited.. and ovary cells are much more difficult to keep in store. When the travel would be 50-100 years and people would be confined on the ship for generations, you'd like to make good use of all available combinations of genes that are medically safe.

Allow all people to have kids and provide incentives

Build seed banks. Gather large amounts of sperm there, and don't be afraid to select genes, but only for one single purpose: single out medical issues. Then store it, wait for the customer. Make it less paperwork for women to use the sperm. Commercialize pregnancy, allow anonymity on both sides, also allow LHBT and single parents to have children. Keep the seed bank donators informed about school progress (anonymously, as an incentive to donate) and allow mothers more free time from work when pregnant. Give children perspective: take childrens's rights seriously. Subsidize child care, provide free of charge schools and universities.


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