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← A misguided attack on kin selection

vanghelie's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by vanghelie


I find this intriguing:

"Alex Kacelnik points out to me that kin selection is the only way in which worker adaptations such as soldier jaws and honeypot abdomens – phenotypes that are never expressed in reproductive individuals – could have evolved. 'Colony selection' and 'superorganisms' don't do the trick. You have to talk about shared genes in individuals, with conditional phenotypic expression."

Can someone who understands this expand a bit and explain (to a layman) how kin selection explains the evolution of these traits?

The way I see it, something like "individuals who share this gene cooperate more" does not make sense as the individuals themselves do not reproduce; the only relevant consequence of their cooperation (or lack there of) is how well they can "help" the queen reproduce.

Mon, 30 Aug 2010 22:51:15 UTC | #508268