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Go to: A misguided attack on kin selection

Electric_Monk's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Electric_Monk

Comment 5 by vanghelie :

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.

For a good explanation of this see The Selfish Gene, however, the (i might be a little wrong about details) short answer is that, in haplodiploid species (like ants) females share more genes with their sisters than with their own offspring. This means that it is in the "interest" of the "selfish" genes to increase the number of siblings of an individual at the expense of offspring since this is the most efficeint way to propogate the maximum number of copies of themselves into the next generation.

see the comments in the linked article for a fuller explanation

Updated: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 05:59:15 UTC | #508365

Go to: A misguided attack on kin selection

Electric_Monk's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Electric_Monk

Comment 6 by Rattlesnake :

Richard, I tried very hard to follow your fascinating piece, but must ask this: how do you define 'devaluation'? As in the following:

" C is exceeded by the Benefit to the recipient, B, devalued by the coefficient of Relatedness, r."


r is the relatedness of the recipient to the actor (what proportion of genes they share) - a sister, parent or offsping (for a diploid species) would have an r of 1/2, a cousin would have an r of 1/8, an identical twin or a clone would have an r of 1 and so on. (r can never be greater than 1 since you can't be more related to someone else than you are to yourself - thus "devalued")

Therefore, if the recipient in an individual case were the sister of the actor then the benefit would have to be double the cost to the actor. In the case of cousins the benefit would have to be eight times the cost to the actor and so on.

Sister: 1/2B > C Cousin: 1/8B > C

Updated: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 05:39:27 UTC | #508364

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