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- Created 2012-02-17
ary strategy that favours the reproductive success of an organism's relatives, even at a cost to the organism's own survival and reproduction.
whose evolution is driven by kin selection. Kin selection is an instance of
, which combines the number of offspring produced with the number an individual can produce by supporting others, such as siblings.
Charles Darwin discussed the concept of kin selection in his 1859 book,
The Origin of Species
, where he reflected on the puzzle of sterile social insects, such as
, which leave reproduction to their sisters, arguing that a selection benefit to related organisms (the same "stock") would allow the evolution of a trait that confers the benefit but destroys an individual at the same time.
in 1930 and
in 1932 set out the mathematics of kin selection, with Haldane famously joking that he would willingly die for two brothers or eight cousins. In 1964,
popularized the concept and the major advance in the mathematical treatment of the phenomenon by
George R. Price
which has become known as "Hamilton's rule". In the same year
John Maynard Smith
used the actual term kin selection for the first time.
According to Hamilton's rule, kin selection causes genes to increase in frequency when the genetic relatedness of a recipient to an actor multiplied by the benefit to the recipient is greater than the reproductive cost to the actor. The rule is difficult to test but was verified experimentally in 2010 by observing adoption of orphans by surrogate mothers in a wild
population. Hamilton proposed two mechanisms for kin selection:
, where individuals are able to identify their relatives, and viscous populations, where dispersal is rare enough for populations to be closely related. The viscous population mechanism makes kin selection and social cooperation possible in the absence of kin recognition. Nurture kinship, the treatment of individuals as kin when they live together, is sufficient for kin selection, given reasonable assumptions about dispersal rates. Kin selection is not the same thing as
acts on the group as a whole.
In humans, altruism is more likely and on a larger scale with kin than with unrelated individuals; for example, humans give presents according to how closely related they are to the recipient. In other species,
, where related females such as older sisters or grandmothers often care for young, according to their relatedness. The social shrimp
protects juveniles within highly related colonies.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 22 May), licensed under
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The Selfish Gene
The kinship theory of genomic imprinting
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