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Trends in ecology & evolution

Publication date: 2006-01
Volume: 21 Pages: 57 - 60
ISSN: 0169-5347, 1872-8383 PMID: 16701471
DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.11.020
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (Biomedical Division)


Foster, Kevin R
Wenseleers, Tom ; Ratnieks, Francis LW


Altruism, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Evolution, Hymenoptera, Models, Biological, Selection (Genetics), Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics & Heredity, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, EVOLUTION, Biological Evolution, Selection, Genetic, 05 Environmental Sciences, 06 Biological Sciences


Kin selection theory, also known as inclusive fitness theory, has been the subject of much debate and misunderstanding. Nevertheless, the idea that relatedness among individuals can drive the evolution of altruism has emerged as a central paradigm in evolutionary biology. Or has it? In two recent articles, E.O. Wilson argues that kin selection should no longer be considered the main explanation for the evolution of altruism in insect societies. Here, we discuss what these articles say about kin selection and how it relates to the theory. We conclude that kin selection remains the key explanation for the evolution of altruism in eusocial insects.