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Bibliography on: Kin Selection

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 14 May 2021 at 01:44 Created: 

Kin Selection

Wikipedia: Kin selection is the evolutionary strategy that favours the reproductive success of an organism's relatives, even at a cost to the organism's own survival and reproduction. Kin altruism is altruistic behaviour whose evolution is driven by kin selection. Kin selection is an instance of inclusive fitness, 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 honey bees, which leave reproduction to their mothers, 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. R.A. Fisher in 1930 and J.B.S. Haldane 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, W.D. Hamilton popularised 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.

Created with PubMed® Query: "kin selection" or "inclusive fitness" NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2021-05-11

Abe J, Iritani R, Tsuchida K, et al (2021)

A solution to a sex ratio puzzle in Melittobia wasps.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(20):.

The puzzling sex ratio behavior of Melittobia wasps has long posed one of the greatest questions in the field of sex allocation. Laboratory experiments have found that, in contrast to the predictions of theory and the behavior of numerous other organisms, Melittobia females do not produce fewer female-biased offspring sex ratios when more females lay eggs on a patch. We solve this puzzle by showing that, in nature, females of Melittobia australica have a sophisticated sex ratio behavior, in which their strategy also depends on whether they have dispersed from the patch where they emerged. When females have not dispersed, they lay eggs with close relatives, which keeps local mate competition high even with multiple females, and therefore, they are selected to produce consistently female-biased sex ratios. Laboratory experiments mimic these conditions. In contrast, when females disperse, they interact with nonrelatives, and thus adjust their sex ratio depending on the number of females laying eggs. Consequently, females appear to use dispersal status as an indirect cue of relatedness and whether they should adjust their sex ratio in response to the number of females laying eggs on the patch.

RevDate: 2021-05-10

Singletary B (2021)

Learning Through Shared Care : Allomaternal Care Impacts Cognitive Development in Early Infancy in a Western Population.

Human nature (Hawthorne, N.Y.) pii:10.1007/s12110-021-09395-8 [Epub ahead of print].

This study investigates how allomaternal care (AMC) impacts human development outside of energetics by evaluating relations between important qualitative and quantitative aspects of AMC and developmental outcomes in a Western population. This study seeks to determine whether there are measurable differences in cognitive and language outcomes as predicted by differences in exposure to AMC via formal (e.g., childcare facilities) and informal (e.g., family and friends) networks. Data were collected from 102 mothers and their typically developing infants aged 13-18 months. AMC predictor data were collected using questionnaires, structured daily diaries, and longitudinal interviews. Developmental outcomes were assessed using the Cognitive, Receptive Language, and Expressive Language subtests of the Bayley III Screening Test. Additional demographic covariates were also evaluated. Akaike Information Criterion (AIC)-informed model selection was used to identify the best-fitting model for each outcome across three working linear regression models. Although AMC variables had no significant effects on Receptive and Expressive Language subtest scores, highly involved familial AMC had a significant medium effect on Cognitive subtest score (β = 0.23, p < 0.01, semi-partial r = 0.28). Formal childcare had no effect on any outcome. This study provides preliminary evidence that there is a measurable connection between AMC and cognitive development in some populations and provides a methodological base from which to assess these connections cross-culturally through future studies. As these effects are attributable to AMC interactions with networks of mostly related individuals, these findings present an area for further investigation regarding the kin selection hypothesis for AMC.

RevDate: 2021-05-06

Minnameyer A, Strobl V, Bruckner S, et al (2021)

Eusocial insect declines: Insecticide impairs sperm and feeding glands in bumblebees.

The Science of the total environment, 785:146955 pii:S0048-9697(21)02025-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Insecticides are contributing to global insect declines, thereby creating demand to understand the mechanisms underlying reduced fitness. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, inclusive fitness depends on successful mating of male sexuals (drones) and efficient collaborative brood care by female workers. Therefore, sublethal insecticide effects on sperm and glands used in larval feeding (hypopharyngeal glands (HPG)) would provide key mechanisms for population declines in eusocial insects. However, while negative impacts for bumblebee colony fitness have been documented, the effects of insecticide exposure on individual physiology are less well understood. Here, we show that field-realistic concentrations (4.5-40 ng ml-1) of the neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam significantly impair Bombus terrestris sperm and HPGs, thereby providing plausible mechanisms underlying bumblebee population decline. In the laboratory, drones and workers were exposed to five thiamethoxam concentrations (4.5 to 1000 ng ml-1). Then, survival, food consumption, body mass, HPG development, sperm quantity and viability were assessed. At all concentrations, drones were more exposed than workers due to higher food consumption. Increased body mass was observed in drones starting at 20 ng ml-1 and in workers at 100 ng ml-1. Furthermore, environmentally realistic concentrations (4.5-40 ng ml-1) did not significantly affect survival or consumption for either sex. However, thiamethoxam exposure significantly negatively affected both sperm viability and HPG development at all tested concentrations. Therefore, the results indicate a trade-off between survival and fitness components, possibly due to costly detoxification. Since sperm and HPG are corner stones of colony fitness, the data offer plausible mechanisms for bumblebee population declines. To adequately mitigate ongoing biodiversity declines for the eusocial insects, this study suggests it is essential to evaluate the impact of insecticides on fitness parameters of both sexuals and workers.

RevDate: 2021-05-04

de Boer RA, Vega-Trejo R, Kotrschal A, et al (2021)

Meta-analytic evidence that animals rarely avoid inbreeding.

Nature ecology & evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Animals are usually expected to avoid mating with relatives (kin avoidance) as incestuous mating can lead to the expression of inbreeding depression. Yet, theoretical models predict that unbiased mating with regards to kinship should be common, and that under some conditions, the inclusive fitness benefits associated with inbreeding can even lead to a preference for mating with kin. This mismatch between empirical and theoretical expectations generates uncertainty as to the prevalence of inbreeding avoidance in animals. Here, we synthesized 677 effect sizes from 139 experimental studies of mate choice for kin versus non-kin in diploid animals, representing 40 years of research, using a meta-analytical approach. Our meta-analysis revealed little support for the widely held view that animals avoid mating with kin, despite clear evidence of publication bias. Instead, unbiased mating with regards to kinship appears widespread across animals and experimental conditions. The significance of a variety of moderators was explored using meta-regressions, revealing that the degree of relatedness and prior experience with kin explained some variation in the effect sizes. Yet, we found no difference in kin avoidance between males and females, choice and no-choice experiments, mated and virgin animals or between humans and animals. Our findings highlight the need to rethink the widely held view that inbreeding avoidance is a given in experimental studies.

RevDate: 2021-05-03

Schacht R, Meeks H, Fraser A, et al (2021)

Was Cinderella just a fairy tale? Survival differences between stepchildren and their half-siblings.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 376(1827):20200032.

The death of a parent, particularly the mother, is linked to a suite of negative outcomes across the life-course. Compounding concerns for child outcomes are expectations of poor treatment by step-parents after parental remarriage. Indeed, folk tales of step-parental abuse abound cross-culturally and are embedded into stories taught to children. To understand why child outcomes might be sensitive to levels of relatedness within the household, evolutionary-oriented research targets patterning in parental expenditure in ways predicted to maximize inclusive fitness. In particular, parents are expected to prioritize investments in their biological children. However, stepfamilies are only formed after children experience multiple unfortunate events (e.g. parental loss, poverty), blurring causal interpretations between step-parental presence and stepchild outcomes. Moreover, stepchildren have been shown to be integral to household functioning, caring for their half-siblings and stabilizing relationships. These results challenge narrow views of adaptive behaviour; specifically, that step-parents, unlike biological parents, do no stand to reap fitness benefits from the care that they provide to their stepchildren. To evaluate these critiques, we analyse the survival outcomes of stepchildren. We include over 400 000 individuals from across a natural fertility period (1847-1940) in the United States state of Utah and examine the consequences of parental loss and step-parental introduction. Our analyses yield three key results: (i) exposure to maternal loss in childhood is associated with elevated mortality risk, (ii) parental remarriage does not increase the risk of mortality among stepchildren compared to non-stepchildren who too had lost a parent, and (iii) stepchildren enjoy higher survival than their half-siblings within the same family. Ultimately, this work contributes to the increasingly recognized importance of cooperative relationships among non-kin for childcare and household functioning. This article is part of the theme issue 'Multidisciplinary perspectives on social support and maternal-child health'.

RevDate: 2021-05-02

Garcia-Costoya G, L Fromhage (2021)

Realistic genetic architecture enables organismal adaptation as predicted under the folk definition of inclusive fitness.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

A fundamental task of evolutionary biology is to explain the pervasive impression of organismal design in nature, including traits benefiting kin. Inclusive fitness is considered by many to be a crucial piece in this puzzle, despite ongoing discussion about its scope and limitations. Here we use individual-based simulations to study what quantity (if any) individual organisms become adapted to maximise when genetic architectures are more or less suitable for the presumed main driver of biological adaptation: namely, cumulative multi-locus evolution. As an expository device we focus on a hypothetical situation called Charlesworth's paradox, in which altruism is seemingly predicted to evolve, yet altruists immediately perish along with their altruistic genes. Our results support a recently proposed re-definition of inclusive fitness, which is concerned with the adaptive design of whole organisms as shaped by multi-locus evolution, rather than with selection for any focal gene. They also illustrate how our conceptual understanding of adaptation at the phenotypic level should inform our choice of genetic assumptions in abstract simplified models.

RevDate: 2021-04-28

Flintham EO, Savolainen V, C Mullon (2021)

Dispersal Alters the Nature and Scope of Sexually Antagonistic Variation.

The American naturalist, 197(5):543-559.

AbstractIntralocus sexual conflict, or sexual antagonism, occurs when alleles have opposing fitness effects in the two sexes. Previous theory suggests that sexual antagonism is a driver of genetic variation by generating balancing selection. However, most of these studies assume that populations are well mixed, neglecting the effects of spatial subdivision. Here, we use mathematical modeling to show that limited dispersal changes evolution at sexually antagonistic autosomal and X-linked loci as a result of inbreeding and sex-specific kin competition. We find that if the sexes disperse at different rates, kin competition within the philopatric sex biases intralocus conflict in favor of the more dispersive sex. Furthermore, kin competition diminishes the strength of balancing selection relative to genetic drift, reducing genetic variation in small subdivided populations. Meanwhile, by decreasing heterozygosity, inbreeding reduces the scope for sexually antagonistic polymorphism due to nonadditive allelic effects, and this occurs to a greater extent on the X chromosome than autosomes. Overall, our results indicate that spatial structure is a relevant factor in predicting where sexually antagonistic alleles might be observed. We suggest that sex-specific dispersal ecology and demography can contribute to interspecific and intragenomic variation in sexual antagonism.

RevDate: 2021-04-21

González-Forero M, J Peña (2021)

Eusociality through conflict dissolution.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1949):20210386.

Eusociality, where largely unreproductive offspring help their mothers reproduce, is a major form of social organization. An increasingly documented feature of eusociality is that mothers induce their offspring to help by means of hormones, pheromones or behavioural displays, with evidence often indicating that offspring help voluntarily. The co-occurrence of maternal influence and offspring voluntary help may be explained by what we call the converted helping hypothesis, whereby maternally manipulated helping subsequently becomes voluntary. Such hypothesis requires that parent-offspring conflict is eventually dissolved-for instance, if the benefit of helping increases sufficiently over evolutionary time. We show that help provided by maternally manipulated offspring can enable the mother to sufficiently increase her fertility to transform parent-offspring conflict into parent-offspring agreement. This conflict-dissolution mechanism requires that helpers alleviate maternal life-history trade-offs, and results in reproductive division of labour, high queen fertility and honest queen signalling suppressing worker reproduction-thus exceptionally recovering diverse features of eusociality. As such trade-off alleviation seemingly holds widely across eusocial taxa, this mechanism offers a potentially general explanation for the origin of eusociality, the prevalence of maternal influence, and the offspring's willingness to help. Overall, our results explain how a major evolutionary transition can happen from ancestral conflict.

RevDate: 2021-04-20

Raven JA, Franco AA, de Jesus EL, et al (1990)

H+ extrusion and organic-acid synthesis in N2 -fixing symbioses involving vascular plants.

The New phytologist, 114(3):369-389.

An analysis of published data suggests that the N2 -fixing symbiotic vascular plants extrude more H+ per unit N fixed than would be expected from data on the same genotypes growing on NH4+ if the plants had the same chemical composition when grown on the two N sources. The H+ /N ratio with urea as the N source is similar to that with N2 . The higher H+ /N ratio and higher organic acid/N ratio with N2 or urea as N source implies higher whole-plant energy and water costs per unit of biomass and, ultimately, inclusive fitness, produced. The rhizosphere acidification resulting from H+ extrusion may serve to change rhizosphere pH to some 'optimal' value, and to increase the availability of such limiting resources as P, Mo and Fe which are especially needed in diazotrophy. Data in the literature are consistent with these possibilities in the few cases examined. Within the plant, data on xylem and phloem sap composition in conjunction with shoot composition, of diazotrophically-growing legumes suggest that shoot acid-base homoiostasis can be maintained via the import of appropriate solutes in the xylem and the export of appropriate solutes in the phloem. Acid-base regulation of the nodules in the absence of any H+ exchange with their environment can also probably be explained in terms of the solutes supplied in the phloem and exported in the xylem. This conclusion is based on data in the literature on the composition of stem phloem sap and of xylem sap exuding from detached nodules of diazotrophic vascular plants. These considerations do not exclude the possibility of net H+ efflux from nodules fixing N2 in contact with an aqueous medium. The limited data available are consistent with extrusion of some of the H+ generated in nodules as an alternative to their neutralization by metabolism of organic anions entering in the phloem. Such H+ extrusion by nodules could aid in their acquisition of Fe from the medium, albeit not always at a phase in the life or the nodule when there is a net requirement for Fe.

RevDate: 2021-04-20

Raven JA (1985)


The New phytologist, 101(1):25-77.

The benefits which this paper addresses are those of maintaining the intracellular acid-base balance during growth, and of generating osmolarity related to regulation of turgor in environments of low water potential. These benefits may incur costs in terms of the quantity of potentially growth-limiting resources (photons, water, nitrogen) which are needed to produce unit quantity of 'baseline' plant biomass. The direction (excess H+ or excess OH-) and magnitude of acid-base perturbation during growth depends on the nature of the N-source (NH4+ , N2 or NO3-), so that the costing of pH homoiostasis involves consideration of the costs of overall N-assimilation for comparison with the other costs of growth of a terrestrial C3 plant. Photon costs for the various biochemical and transport processes involved in overall growth, N-assimilation, pH regulation and osmolarity generation are computed using known stoichiometries of coupled reactions. Water costs are deduced from the C-requirements for the various processes (including C lost in associated decarboxylations) by assuming a constant value of water lost in transpiration per unit net C fixed in an illuminated shoot. Nitrogen costs are deduced from the N-content of the plants or compounds under consideration. The computed costs for N-assimilation and the generation of osmolarity are referred to the costs of 'baseline' plant synthesis using the cheapest mechanisms (NH4+ as source for N-assimilation; inorganic ions as the basis for osmolarity generation) so that the increment of cost related to assimilation of N2 or NO3- , or of osmolarity generation using an organic compatible solute, can be presented. Photon costs of growth with N2 fixation and the processes associated with regulation of pH are (granted the assumptions made as to stoichiometries and plant composition) 9 % higher than are those of growth with NH4+ as N˜ source. The predicted cost of growth with NO3- as N source depends on the location of NO3- reduction and the mechanism of OH- disposal, and ranges from 5 to 12% more than that for growth with NH4+ as N source. H2 O (transpiration) costs follow a similar pattern, with growth on N2 as N source costing 12% more, and growth on NO3- costing to 1-2 to 167 % more, than growth with NH4+ as N source. The extra costs in photons of using compatible solutes (sorbitol, proline or glycine betaine) to generate an osmolarity of 500 osmol m-3 in all of the non-apoplastic water of the plant add 21·5 to 26·1 % to the total costs of growth, while use of compatible solutes to generate osmolarity in 'N' phases (i.e. cytosol, plastid stroma, mitochondrial matrix) alone would add 5·2 to 6·2% The costs of growth in terms of transpirational water are increased 7·9 to 98 % by the use of compatible solutes for osmolarity generation in the 'N' phases only. The increments for the N-containing solutes are higher when NO3- is the N-source rather than NH4+ . The N-cost of growth with N-containing compatible solutes generating 500 osmol m-3 in 'N' phases increases the N cost of growth by 33%. These predicted costs are under-estimates of 'real' costs which take into account the occurrence of alternate oxidase activity under some growth conditions and the production of additional organic acid anions with N2 as opposed to NH4+ as N source. Nevertheless, the predicted minimum costs of attaining the benefits of pH regulation and of turgor generation are of use in suggesting where selectively significant (i.e. low requirement for a scarce resource) alternative mechanisms may occur. Examples include a possible photon saving by using NH4+ rather than N2 or NO3- where all three are available; a possible water saving by use of photoreduction of NO3- in leaves in arid environments; and a possible N saving by use of non-N-containing compatible solutes (polyols) in environments of low water potential. Proof of these suggestions involves comparisons of inclusive fitness of genotypes possessing the trait under consideration with that of genotypes lacking the trait. CONTENTS Summary 26 I. Introduction 27 II. pH Regulation and Osmolarity Generation 27 III. Photon Costs of Various Syntheses Related to pH Regulation and Osmolarity Generation 31 IV. Conclusions on Energy Costs of pH Regulation During Nitrogen Assimilation and Growth 56 V. Conclusions on Energy Costs of Osmolarity Generation 60 VI. Water Costs of pH Regulation and Nitrogen Assimilation 61 VII. Water Costs of Osmolarity Generation 67 VIII. Nitrogen Costs of Osmolarity Generation 69 IX. Conclusions 70 Acknowledgements 72 References 73.

RevDate: 2021-04-19

Oldroyd BP, B Yagound (2021)

Parent-of-origin effects, allele-specific expression, genomic imprinting and paternal manipulation in social insects.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 376(1826):20200425.

Haplo-diploidy and the relatedness asymmetries it generates mean that social insects are prime candidates for the evolution of genomic imprinting. In single-mating social insect species, some genes may be selected to evolve genomic mechanisms that enhance reproduction by workers when they are inherited from a female. This situation reverses in multiple mating species, where genes inherited from fathers can be under selection to enhance the reproductive success of daughters. Reciprocal crosses between subspecies of honeybees have shown strong parent-of-origin effects on worker reproductive phenotypes, and this could be evidence of such genomic imprinting affecting genes related to worker reproduction. It is also possible that social insect fathers directly affect gene expression in their daughters, for example, by placing small interfering RNA molecules in semen. Gene expression studies have repeatedly found evidence of parent-specific gene expression in social insects, but it is unclear at this time whether this arises from genomic imprinting, paternal manipulation, an artefact of cyto-nuclear interactions, or all of these. This article is part of the theme issue 'How does epigenetics influence the course of evolution?'

RevDate: 2021-03-23

Boots M, Childs D, Crossmore J, et al (2021)

Experimental evidence that local interactions select against selfish behaviour.

Ecology letters [Epub ahead of print].

How social behaviours evolve remains one of the most debated questions in evolutionary biology. An important theoretical prediction is that when organisms interact locally due to limited dispersal or strong social ties, the population structure that emerges may favour cooperation over antagonism. We carry out an experimental test of this theory by directly manipulating population spatial structure in an insect laboratory model system and measuring the impact on the evolution of the extreme selfish behaviour of cannibalism. We show that, as predicted by the theory, Indian meal moth larvae that evolved in environments with more limited dispersal are selected for lower rates of cannibalism. This is important because it demonstrates that local interactions select against selfish behaviour. Therefore, the ubiquitous variation in population structure that we see in nature is a simple mechanism that can help to explain the variation in selfish and cooperative behaviours that we see in nature.

RevDate: 2021-03-23

Martyn TE, Stouffer DB, Godoy O, et al (2021)

Identifying "Useful" Fitness Models: Balancing the Benefits of Added Complexity with Realistic Data Requirements in Models of Individual Plant Fitness.

The American naturalist, 197(4):415-433.

AbstractDirect species interactions are commonly included in individual fitness models used for coexistence and local diversity modeling. Though widely considered important for such models, direct interactions alone are often insufficient for accurately predicting fitness, coexistence, or diversity outcomes. Incorporating higher-order interactions (HOIs) can lead to more accurate individual fitness models but also adds many model terms, which can quickly result in model overfitting. We explore approaches for balancing the trade-off between tractability and model accuracy that occurs when HOIs are added to individual fitness models. To do this, we compare models parameterized with data from annual plant communities in Australia and Spain, varying in the extent of information included about the focal and neighbor species. The best-performing models for both data sets were those that grouped neighbors based on origin status and life form, a grouping approach that reduced the number of model parameters substantially while retaining important ecological information about direct interactions and HOIs. Results suggest that the specific identity of focal or neighbor species is not necessary for building well-performing fitness models that include HOIs. In fact, grouping neighbors by even basic functional information seems sufficient to maximize model accuracy, an important outcome for the practical use of HOI-inclusive fitness models.

RevDate: 2021-03-23

Patten MM (2021)

On Being a Monkey's Uncle: Germline Chimerism in the Callitrichinae and the Evolution of Sibling Rivalry.

The American naturalist, 197(4):502-508.

AbstractA typical monkey of the subfamily Callitrichinae has two or more cell lineages occupying its tissues: one from "itself," and one from its co-twin(s). Chimerism originates in utero when the twin placentae fuse, vascular anastomoses form between them, and cells are exchanged between conceptuses through their shared circulation. Previously it was thought that chimerism was limited to tissues of the hematopoietic cell lineage and that the germline was clonal, but subsequent empirical work has shown that chimerism may extend to many tissues, including the germline. To explore how natural selection on chimeric organisms should shape their social behavior, I construct an inclusive fitness model of sibling interactions that permits differing degrees of chimerism in the soma and germline. The model predicts that somatic chimerism should diminish sibling rivalry but that germline chimerism should typically intensify it. A further implication of the model is the possibility for intraorganismal conflict over developing phenotypes; as tissues may differ in their extent of chimerism-for example, placenta versus brain-their respective inclusive fitness may be maximized by different phenotypes. Communication between tissues in chimeric organisms might therefore be noisy, rapidly evolving, and fraught, as is common in systems with internal evolutionary conflicts of interest.

RevDate: 2021-03-15

Levin SR, A Grafen (2021)

Extending the range of additivity in using inclusive fitness.

Ecology and evolution, 11(5):1970-1983 pii:ECE36935.

Inclusive fitness is a concept widely utilized by social biologists as the quantity organisms appear designed to maximize. However, inclusive fitness theory has long been criticized on the (uncontested) grounds that other quantities, such as offspring number, predict gene frequency changes accurately in a wider range of mathematical models. Here, we articulate a set of modeling assumptions that extend the range of scenarios in which inclusive fitness can be applied. We reanalyze recent formal analyses that searched for, but did not find, inclusive fitness maximization. We show (a) that previous models have not used Hamilton's definition of inclusive fitness, (b) a reinterpretation of Hamilton's definition that makes it usable in this context, and (c) that under the assumption of probabilistic mixing of phenotypes, inclusive fitness is indeed maximized in these models. We also show how to understand mathematically, and at an individual level, the definition of inclusive fitness, in an explicit population genetic model in which exact additivity is not assumed. We hope that in articulating these modeling assumptions and providing formal support for inclusive fitness maximization, we help bridge the gap between empiricists and theoreticians, which in some ways has been widening, demonstrating to mathematicians why biologists are content to use inclusive fitness, and offering one way to utilize inclusive fitness in general models of social behavior.

RevDate: 2021-03-08

Galimov ER, D Gems (2021)

Death happy: adaptive ageing and its evolution by kin selection in organisms with colonial ecology.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 376(1823):20190730.

Standard evolutionary theory, supported by mathematical modelling of outbred, dispersed populations predicts that ageing is not an adaptation. We recently argued that in clonal, viscous populations, programmed organismal death could promote fitness through social benefits and has, in some organisms (e.g. Caenorhabditis elegans), evolved to shorten lifespan. Here, we review previous adaptive death theory, including consumer sacrifice, biomass sacrifice and defensive sacrifice types of altruistic adaptive death. In addition, we discuss possible adaptive death in certain semelparous fish, coevolution of reproductive and adaptive death, and adaptive reproductive senescence in C. elegans. We also describe findings from recent tests for the existence of adaptive death in C. elegans using computer modelling. Such models have provided new insights into how trade-offs between fitness at the individual and colony levels mean that senescent changes can be selected traits. Exploring further the relationship between adaptive death and social interactions, we consider examples where adaptive death results more from action of kin than from self-destructive mechanisms and, to describe this, introduce the term adaptive killing of kin. This article is part of the theme issue 'Ageing and sociality: why, when and how does sociality change ageing patterns?'

RevDate: 2021-03-08

Heinze J, J Giehr (2021)

The plasticity of lifespan in social insects.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 376(1823):20190734.

One of the central questions of ageing research is why lifespans of organisms differ so tremendously among related taxa and, even more surprising, among members of the same species. Social insects provide a particularly pronounced example for this. Here, we review previously published information on lifespan plasticity in social insects and provide new data on worker lifespan in the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, which because of its relatively short lifespan is a convenient model to study ageing. We show that individual lifespan may vary within species with several reproductive and social traits, such as egg-laying rate, queen number, task, colony size and colony composition. For example, in Cardiocondyla, highly fecund queens live longer than reproductively less active queens, and workers tend to live longer when transferred into a novel social environment or, as we show with new data, into small colonies. We hypothesize that this plasticity of lifespan serves to maximize the reproductive output of the colony as a whole and thus the inclusive fitness of all individuals. The underlying mechanisms that link the social environment or reproductive status with lifespan are currently unresolved. Several studies in honeybees and ants indicate an involvement of nutrient-sensing pathways, but the details appear to differ among species. This article is part of the theme issue 'Ageing and sociality: why, when and how does sociality change ageing patterns?'

RevDate: 2021-03-05

Wu R, Wu X, Li S, et al (2021)

Predator odor exposure increases social contact in adolescents and parental behavior in adulthood in Brandt's voles.

Behavioural processes pii:S0376-6357(21)00059-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Research suggests that predation risk during adolescence can program adult stress response and emotional behavior; however, little is known about the short-term and lasting residual effects of this experience on social behavior. We explored this concept in social Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii). Adolescent male and female voles were exposed to distilled water, rabbit urine (as a non-predator stimulus), and cat urine for 60 min daily from postnatal day (PND) 28 to 49. Social play tests were conducted immediately following exposure on PND 28, 35, 42, and 49. In the social play test, repeated cat odor (CO) exposure enhanced the contact behavior of voles with their cagemate. Adolescent exposure to CO did not affect behavioral responses toward unrelated pups in the alloparental behavior test or same-sex individuals in the social interaction test. However, exposure to CO significantly enhanced the licking/grooming behavior of voles towards their own pups in the home cage parental behavior test. Repeated CO exposure significantly inhibited weight gain in male voles during adolescence. This effect was transmitted to the next generation, with lower weight gain in offspring before weaning. Following repeated CO exposure, males tended to have more female offspring whereas females produced more offspring, suggesting an adaptive strategy to increase inclusive fitness under predatory risk. These findings demonstrate that adolescent exposure to predatory risk augments adolescent social contact and adult parental behavior and suggest a role for improved inclusive fitness in mediating long-term outcomes.

RevDate: 2021-02-16

Kennedy P, Sumner S, Botha P, et al (2021)

Diminishing returns drive altruists to help extended family.

Nature ecology & evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Altruism between close relatives can be easily explained. However, paradoxes arise when organisms divert altruism towards more distantly related recipients. In some social insects, workers drift extensively between colonies and help raise less related foreign brood, seemingly reducing inclusive fitness. Since being highlighted by W. D. Hamilton, three hypotheses (bet hedging, indirect reciprocity and diminishing returns to cooperation) have been proposed for this surprising behaviour. Here, using inclusive fitness theory, we show that bet hedging and indirect reciprocity could only drive cooperative drifting under improbable conditions. However, diminishing returns to cooperation create a simple context in which sharing workers is adaptive. Using a longitudinal dataset comprising over a quarter of a million nest cell observations, we quantify cooperative payoffs in the Neotropical wasp Polistes canadensis, for which drifting occurs at high levels. As the worker-to-brood ratio rises in a worker's home colony, the predicted marginal benefit of a worker for expected colony productivity diminishes. Helping related colonies can allow effort to be focused on related brood that are more in need of care. Finally, we use simulations to show that cooperative drifting evolves under diminishing returns when dispersal is local, allowing altruists to focus their efforts on related recipients. Our results indicate the power of nonlinear fitness effects to shape social organization, and suggest that models of eusocial evolution should be extended to include neglected social interactions within colony networks.

RevDate: 2021-02-15

Wang L, Cornell SJ, Speed MP, et al (2021)

Coevolution of group-living and aposematism in caterpillars: warning colouration may facilitate the evolution from group-living to solitary habits.

BMC ecology and evolution, 21(1):25.

BACKGROUND: Animals use diverse antipredator mechanisms, including visual signalling of aversive chemical defence (aposematism). However, the initial evolution of aposematism poses the problem that the first aposematic individuals are conspicuous to predators who have not learned the significance of the warning colouration. In one scenario, aposematism evolves in group-living species and originally persisted due to kin selection or positive frequency-dependent selection in groups. Alternatively, group-living might evolve after aposematism because grouping can amplify the warning signal. However, our current understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of these traits is limited, leaving the relative merit of these scenarios unresolved.

RESULTS: We used a phylogenetic comparative approach to estimate phenotypic evolutionary models to enable inferences regarding ancestral states and trait dynamics of grouping and aposematic colouration in a classic model system (caterpillars). We find strong support for aposematism at the root of the clade, and some (but weaker) support for ancestral solitary habits. Transition rates between aposematism and crypsis are generally higher than those between group-living and solitary-living, suggesting that colouration is more evolutionarily labile than aggregation. We also find that the transition from group-living to solitary-living states can only happen in aposematic lineage, suggesting that aposematism facilitates the evolution of solitary caterpillars, perhaps due to the additional protection offered when the benefits of grouping are lost. We also find that the high frequency of solitary, cryptic caterpillars is because this state is particularly stable, in that the transition rates moving towards this state are substantially higher than those moving away from it, favouring its accumulation in the clade over evolutionary time.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide new insights into the coevolution of colour and aggregation in caterpillars. We find support for an aposematic caterpillar at the root of this major clade, and for the signal augmentation hypothesis as an explanation of the evolution of aposematic, group-living caterpillars. We find that colouration is more labile than aggregation behaviour, but that the combination of solitary and cryptic habits is particularly stable. Finally, our results reveal that the transitions from group-living to solitary-living could be facilitated by aposematism, providing a new link between these well-studied traits.

RevDate: 2021-02-10

Barragan-Jason G, Cauchoix M, Regnier A, et al (2021)

Schoolchildren cooperate more successfully with non-kin than with siblings.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1944):20202951.

Cooperation plays a key role in the development of advanced societies and can be stabilized through shared genes (kinship) or reciprocation. In humans, cooperation among kin occurs more readily than cooperation among non-kin. In many organisms, cooperation can shift with age (e.g. helpers at the nest); however, little is known about developmental shifts between kin and non-kin cooperation in humans. Using a cooperative game, we show that 3- to 10-year-old French schoolchildren cooperated less successfully with siblings than with non-kin children, whether or not non-kin partners were friends. Furthermore, children with larger social networks cooperated better and the perception of friendship among non-friends improved after cooperating. These results contrast with the well-established preference for kin cooperation among adults and indicate that non-kin cooperation in humans might serve to forge and extend non-kin social relationships during middle childhood and create opportunities for future collaboration beyond kin. Our results suggest that the current view of cooperation in humans may only apply to adults and that future studies should focus on how and why cooperation with different classes of partners might change during development in humans across cultures as well as other long-lived organisms.

RevDate: 2021-02-02

Simonet C, L McNally (2021)

Kin selection explains the evolution of cooperation in the gut microbiota.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(6):.

Through the secretion of "public goods" molecules, microbes cooperatively exploit their habitat. This is known as a major driver of the functioning of microbial communities, including in human disease. Understanding why microbial species cooperate is therefore crucial to achieve successful microbial community management, such as microbiome manipulation. A leading explanation is that of Hamilton's inclusive-fitness framework. A cooperator can indirectly transmit its genes by helping the reproduction of an individual carrying similar genes. Therefore, all else being equal, as relatedness among individuals increases, so should cooperation. However, the predictive power of relatedness, particularly in microbes, is surrounded by controversy. Using phylogenetic comparative analyses across the full diversity of the human gut microbiota and six forms of cooperation, we find that relatedness is predictive of the cooperative gene content evolution in gut-microbe genomes. Hence, relatedness is predictive of cooperation over broad microbial taxonomic levels that encompass variation in other life-history and ecology details. This supports the generality of Hamilton's central insights and the relevance of relatedness as a key parameter of interest to advance microbial predictive and engineering science.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Kennedy P, AN Radford (2021)

Kin Blackmail as a Coercive Route to Altruism.

The American naturalist, 197(2):266-273.

AbstractThe evolution of altruism (helping a recipient at personal cost) often involves conflicts of interest. Recipients frequently prefer greater altruism than actors are prepared to provide. Coercion by recipients normally involves limiting an actor's options. Here, we consider the possibility of a coercive recipient limiting its own options. Forty years ago, Amotz Zahavi suggested that nesting birds may be "blackmailed" into increased parental care if offspring threaten to harm themselves (and therefore jeopardize the direct fitness of their parents). In a simple kin selection model, we expand blackmail to indirect fitness and highlight that blackmail can occur between any kin to drive reproductive division of labor. In principle, a recipient may place its own fitness at risk (brinkmanship), imposing sanctions on a relative's indirect fitness if the relative fails to cooperate. To use its own survival or reproduction as leverage in a sequential game, a recipient must increase the extent to which its existing fitness depends on the actor's behavior and therefore credibly commit to a cost if the actor does not comply. As it requires opportunities for commitment, kin blackmail can arise only under stringent conditions, but existing kin blackmailers may pass unnoticed because of their strategic success.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Anten NPR, BJW Chen (2021)

Detect thy family: mechanisms, ecology and agricultural aspects of kin recognition in plants.

Plant, cell & environment [Epub ahead of print].

The phenomenon that organisms can distinguish genetically related individuals from strangers (i.e. kin recognition) and exhibit more cooperative behaviors towards their relatives (i.e. positive kin discrimination) has been documented in a wide variety of organisms. However, its occurrence in plants has only been recently considered. Despite the concerns about some methodologies used to document kin recognition, there is sufficient evidence to state that it exists in plants. Effects of kin recognition go well beyond reducing resource competition between related plants, and involve interactions with symbionts (e.g. mycorrhizal networks). Kin recognition thus likely has important implications for evolution of plant traits, diversity of plant populations, ecological networks and community structures. Moreover, as kin selection may result in less competitive traits and thus greater population performance, it holds potential promise for crop breeding. Exploration of these evo-ecological and agricultural implications requires: adequate control for- and measurements of relatedness, sufficient replication at genotypic level and comprehensive measurements of performance/fitness effects of kin discrimination. The primary questions that need to be answered are: when, where and by how much positive kin discrimination improves population performance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2021-01-28

Avila P, Priklopil T, L Lehmann (2021)

Hamilton's rule, gradual evolution, and the optimal (feedback) control of phenotypically plastic traits.

Journal of theoretical biology pii:S0022-5193(21)00024-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Most traits expressed by organisms, such as gene expression profiles, developmental trajectories, behavioural sequences and reaction norms are function-valued traits (colloquially "phenotypically plastic traits"), since they vary across an individual's age and in response to various internal and/or external factors (state variables). Furthermore, most organisms live in populations subject to limited genetic mixing and are thus likely to interact with their relatives. We here formalise selection on genetically determined function-valued traits of individuals interacting in a group-structured population, by deriving the marginal version of Hamilton's rule for function-valued traits. This rule simultaneously gives a condition for the invasion of an initially rare mutant function-valued trait and its ultimate fixation in the population (invasion thus implies substitution). Hamilton's rule thus underlies the gradual evolution of function-valued traits and gives rise to necessary first-order conditions for their uninvadability (evolutionary stability). We develop a novel analysis using optimal control theory and differential game theory, to simultaneously characterise and compare the first-order conditions of (i) open-loop traits - functions of time (or age) only, and (ii) closed-loop (state-feedback) traits - functions of both time and state variables. We show that closed-loop traits can be represented as the simpler open-loop traits when individuals do no interact or when they interact with clonal relatives. Our analysis delineates the role of state-dependence and interdependence between individuals for trait evolution, which has implications to both life-history theory and social evolution.

RevDate: 2021-01-25

Correia HE, Abebe A, FS Dobson (2021)

Multiple paternity and the number of offspring: A model reveals two major groups of species.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology [Epub ahead of print].

Parentage analyses via microsatellite markers have revealed multiple paternity within the broods of polytocous species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates. The widespread phenomenon of multiple paternity may have attending relationships with such evolutionary processes as sexual selection and kin selection. However, just how much multiple paternity should a species exhibit? We developed Bayesian null models of how multiple paternity relates to brood sizes. For each of 114 species with published data on brood sizes and numbers of sires, we compared our null model estimates to published frequencies of multiple paternity. The majority of species fell close to our null model, especially among fish and invertebrate species. Some species, however, had low probabilities of multiple paternity, far from the predictions of the null model, likely due to sexual selection and environmental constraints. We suggest a major division among species' mating systems between those with close to random mating and high levels of multiple paternity, and those with constraints that produce low levels of multiple paternity.

RevDate: 2021-01-18

Rueger T, Buston PM, Bogdanowicz SM, et al (2021)

Genetic relatedness in social groups of the emerald coral goby Paragobiodon xanthosoma creates potential for weak kin selection.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Animals forming social groups that include breeders and non-breeders present evolutionary paradoxes; why do breeders tolerate non-breeders? And why do non-breeders tolerate their situation? Both paradoxes are often explained with kin selection. Kin selection is, however, assumed to play little or no role in social group formation of marine organisms with dispersive larval phases. Yet, in some marine organisms, recent evidence suggests small-scale patterns of relatedness, meaning that this assumption must always be tested. Here, we investigated the genetic relatedness of social groups of the emerald coral goby, Paragobiodon xanthosoma. We genotyped 73 individuals, from 16 groups in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, at 20 microsatellite loci and estimated pairwise relatedness among all individuals. We found that estimated pairwise relatedness among individuals within groups was significantly higher than the pairwise relatedness among individuals from the same reef, and pairwise relatedness among individuals from the same reef was significantly higher than the pairwise relatedness among individuals from different reefs. This spatial signature suggests that there may be very limited dispersal in this species. The slightly positive relatedness within groups creates the potential for weak kin selection, which may help to resolve the paradox of why breeders tolerate subordinates in P. xanthosoma. The other paradox, why non-breeders tolerate their situation, is better explained by alternative hypotheses such as territory inheritance, and ecological and social constraints. We show that even in marine animals with dispersive larval phases, kin selection needs to be considered to explain the evolution of complex social groups.

RevDate: 2021-01-19

Seitz BM, Polack CW, RR Miller (2020)

Adaptive Memory: Generality of the Parent Processing Effect and Effects of Biological Relatedness on Recall.

Evolutionary psychological science, 6(3):246-260.

The adaptive memory framework posits that human memory is an evolved cognitive feature, in which stimuli relevant to fitness are better remembered than neutral stimuli. There is now substantial evidence that processing a neutral stimulus in terms of its relevancy to an imagined ancestral survival scenario enhances recall, although there is still disagreement concerning the proximate mechanisms responsible for this effect. Several other mnemonic biases have recently been discovered that similarly appear to reflect evolutionary pressures, including a bias to remember items relevant to an imagined parenting scenario. We tested the generality of this parent processing effect by varying the biological relatedness of the imagined child. We also varied the biological relatedness of a child during an imagined third-person survival processing scenario. Across four experiments, we found evidence that simply altering the described biological relatedness of a child in the parenting scenario and third-person survival processing scenario can affect recall, such that items are better remembered when made relevant to a biological child compared to an adopted child. How these findings inform the general adaptive memory framework is discussed.

RevDate: 2021-01-07

GutiÉrrez EG, Vivas-Toro I, Carmona-RuÍz D, et al (2021)

Socio-spatial organization reveals paternity and low kinship in the Honduran white bat (Ectophylla alba Allen, 1892) in Costa Rica.

Integrative zoology [Epub ahead of print].

Ectophylla alba is a tent-making bat that roosts in mixed-sex clusters comprising adults and offspring. Our goal was to determine the genetic identity of individuals belonging to different roosting groups. We tested the hypothesis of kin selection as a major force structuring group composition. We used nine microsatellites designed for E. alba to determine the genetic identity and probability of parentage of individuals. We analyzed parentage and kinship using the software ML-Relate, GenAIEx, and Cervus. The obtained relationship probabilities (0.5) revealed a clear maternal relationship between female adults and offspring with allele compatibility, and at least five relationships between male adults and pups. We found a low degree of relatedness within roosting groups. Between roosting groups at different sites, the mean probability of a half-sibling relationship ranged from 0.214 to 0.244 and, for full-sibling relationship, from 0.383 to 0.553. Genetically, adult individuals were poorly related within clusters, and kinship as an evolutionary force could not explain group membership. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-12-18

Siracusa ER, Boutin S, Dantzer B, et al (2020)

Familiar Neighbors, but Not Relatives, Enhance Fitness in a Territorial Mammal.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(20)31615-8 [Epub ahead of print].

One of the outstanding questions in evolutionary biology is the extent to which mutually beneficial interactions and kin selection can facilitate the evolution of cooperation by mitigating conflict between interacting organisms. The indirect fitness benefits gained from associating with kin are an important pathway to conflict resolution,1 but conflict can also be resolved if individuals gain direct benefits from cooperating with one another (e.g., mutualism or reciprocity).2 Because of the kin-structured nature of many animal societies, it has been difficult for previous research to assess the relative importance of these mechanisms.3-5 However, one area that might allow for the relative roles of kin selection and mutualistic benefits to be disentangled is in the resolution of conflict over territorial space.6 Although much research has focused on group-living species, the question of how cooperation can first be favored in solitary, territorial species remains a key question. Using 22 years of data from a population of North American red squirrels, we assessed how kinship and familiarity with neighbors affected fitness in a territorial mammal. Although living near kin did not enhance fitness, familiarity with neighbors increased survival and annual reproductive success. These fitness benefits were strong enough to compensate for the effects of aging later in life and have potential consequences for the evolution of senescence. We suggest that such substantial fitness benefits provide the opportunity for the evolution of cooperation between adversarial neighbors, offering insight into the role that mutually beneficial behaviors might play in facilitating and stabilizing social systems.

RevDate: 2020-12-16

Galbraith DA, Ma R, CM Grozinger (2020)

Tissue specific transcription patterns support the kinship theory of intragenomic conflict in honey bees (Apis mellifera.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Kin selection may act differently on genes inherited from parents (matrigenes and patrigenes), resulting in intragenomic conflict. This conflict can be observed as differential expression of matrigenes and patrigenes, or parent specific gene expression (PSGE). In honey bees (Apis mellifera), intragenomic conflict is hypothesized to occur in multiple social contexts. Previously, we found patrigene biased expression in reproductive tissues was associated with increased reproductive potential in worker honey bees, consistent with the prediction that patrigenes are selected to promote selfish behavior in this context. Here, we examined brain gene expression patterns to determine if PSGE is also found in other tissues. As before, the number of transcripts showing patrigene expression bias was significantly greater in the brains of reproductive versus sterile workers, while the number of matrigene-biased transcripts was not significantly different. Twelve transcripts out of the 374 showing PSGE in either tissue showed PSGE in both brain and reproductive tissues; this overlap was significantly greater than expected by chance. However, the majority of transcripts show PSGE only in one tissue, suggesting the epigenetic mechanisms mediating PSGE exhibit plasticity between tissues. There was no significant overlap between transcripts that showed PSGE and transcripts that were significantly differentially expressed. Weighted gene correlation network analysis identified modules which were significantly enriched in both types of transcripts, suggesting that these genes may influence each other through gene networks. Our results provide further support for the kin selection theory of intragenomic conflict, and provide valuable insights into the mechanisms which may mediate this process.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Arnot M, Brandl E, Campbell OLK, et al (2020)

How evolutionary behavioural sciences can help us understand behaviour in a pandemic.

Evolution, medicine, and public health, 2020(1):264-278 pii:eoaa038.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought science into the public eye and to the attention of governments more than ever before. Much of this attention is on work in epidemiology, virology and public health, with most behavioural advice in public health focusing squarely on 'proximate' determinants of behaviour. While epidemiological models are powerful tools to predict the spread of disease when human behaviour is stable, most do not incorporate behavioural change. The evolutionary basis of our preferences and the cultural evolutionary dynamics of our beliefs drive behavioural change, so understanding these evolutionary processes can help inform individual and government decision-making in the face of a pandemic. Lay summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought behavioural sciences into the public eye: Without vaccinations, stopping the spread of the virus must rely on behaviour change by limiting contact between people. On the face of it, "stop seeing people" sounds simple. In practice, this is hard. Here we outline how an evolutionary perspective on behaviour change can provide additional insights. Evolutionary theory postulates that our psychology and behaviour did not evolve to maximize our health or that of others. Instead, individuals are expected to act to maximise their inclusive fitness (i.e, spreading our genes) - which can lead to a conflict between behaviours that are in the best interests for the individual, and behaviours that stop the spread of the virus. By examining the ultimate explanations of behaviour related to pandemic-management (such as behavioural compliance and social distancing), we conclude that "good of the group" arguments and "one size fits all" policies are unlikely to encourage behaviour change over the long-term. Sustained behaviour change to keep pandemics at bay is much more likely to emerge from environmental change, so governments and policy makers may need to facilitate significant social change - such as improving life experiences for disadvantaged groups.

RevDate: 2020-12-07

Tanskanen AO, M Danielsbacka (2020)

Grandmaternal investment and early childhood injury: the role of X-chromosomal relatedness.

Journal of biosocial science pii:S0021932020000711 [Epub ahead of print].

Evolutionary theory posits that grandmothers can increase their inclusive fitness by investing time and resources in their grandchildren. According on the X-linked grandmother hypothesis, the asymmetric inheritance of X-chromosomes should be responsible for the biased effect of the investment by maternal and paternal grandmothers towards granddaughters and grandsons. The British Millennium Cohort Study (n=4445 children) was used to investigate the association between grandmaternal childcare and children's injuries between the ages of 9 months and 3 years. Support was found for the X-linked grandmother hypothesis predicting that the investment of paternal grandmothers benefits more granddaughters than grandsons, the investment of paternal grandmothers benefits granddaughters more than the investment of maternal grandmothers, and the investment of maternal grandmothers is similarly associated with the injuries of granddaughters and grandsons. However, no support was found for the prediction that maternal grandmothers benefit more grandsons than paternal grandmothers. Thus, some, although not univocal, evidence for the prediction that X-chromosomal relatedness shapes the grandmaternal effect on child outcomes was found.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Ndhlovu A, Durand PM, G Ramsey (2020)

Programmed cell death as a black queen in microbial communities.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Programmed cell death (PCD) in unicellular organisms is in some instances an altruistic trait. When the beneficiaries are clones or close kin, kin selection theory may be used to explain the evolution of the trait, and when the trait evolves in groups of distantly related individuals, group or multilevel selection theory is invoked. In mixed microbial communities, the benefits are also available to unrelated taxa. But the evolutionary ecology of PCD in communities is poorly understood. Few hypotheses have been offered concerning the community role of PCD despite its far-reaching effects. The hypothesis we consider here is that PCD is a black queen. The Black Queen Hypothesis (BQH) outlines how public goods arising from a leaky function are exploited by other taxa in the community. Black Queen (BQ) traits are essential for community survival, but only some members bear the cost of possessing them, while others lose the trait In addition, BQ traits have been defined in terms of adaptive gene loss, and it is unknown whether this has occurred for PCD. Our conclusion is that PCD fulfills the two most important criteria of a BQ (leakiness and costliness), but that more empirical data are needed for assessing the remaining two criteria. In addition, we hold that for viewing PCD as a BQ, the original BQH needs to include social traits. Thus, despite some empirical and conceptual shortcomings, the BQH provides a helpful avenue for investigating PCD in microbial communities.

RevDate: 2020-11-25

Rodrigues AMM, Estrela S, SP Brown (2020)

Community lifespan, niche expansion and the evolution of interspecific cooperation.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Microbes live in dense and diverse communities where they deploy many traits that promote the growth and survival of neighbouring species, all the while also competing for shared resources. Because microbial communities are highly dynamic, the costs and benefits of species interactions change over the growth cycle of a community. How mutualistic interactions evolve under such demographic and ecological conditions is still poorly understood. Here we develop an eco-evolutionary model to explore how different forms of helping with distinct fitness effects (rate-enhancing and yield-enhancing) affect the multiple phases of community growth, and its consequences for the evolution of mutualisms. We specifically focus on a form of yield-enhancing trait in which cooperation augments the common pool of resources, termed niche expansion. We show that while mutualisms in which cooperation increases partners growth rate are generally favoured at early stages of community growth, niche expansion can evolve at later stages where densities are high. Further, we find that niche expansion can promote the evolution of reproductive restraint, in which a focal species adaptively reduces its own growth rate to increase the density of partner species. Our findings suggest that yield-enhancing mutualisms are more prevalent in stable habitats with a constant supply of resources, and where populations typically live at high densities. In general, our findings highlight the need to integrate different components of population growth in the analysis of mutualisms to understand the composition and function of microbial communities.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Benler S, EV Koonin (2020)

Phage lysis-lysogeny switches and programmed cell death: Danse macabre.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 42(12):e2000114.

Exploration of immune systems in prokaryotes, such as restriction-modification or CRISPR-Cas, shows that both innate and adaptive systems possess programmed cell death (PCD) potential. The key outstanding question is how the immune systems sense and "predict" infection outcomes to "decide" whether to fight the pathogen or induce PCD. There is a striking parallel between this life-or-death decision faced by the cell and the decision by temperate viruses to protect or kill their hosts, epitomized by the lysis-lysogeny switch of bacteriophage Lambda. Immune systems and temperate phages sense the same molecular inputs, primarily, DNA damage, that determine whether the cell lives or dies. Because temperate (pro)phages are themselves components of prokaryotic genomes, their shared "interests" with the hosts result in coregulation of the lysis-lysogeny switch and immune systems that jointly provide the cell with the decision machinery to probe and predict infection outcomes, answering the life-or-death question.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Lecocq de Pletincx N, S Aron (2020)

Sociogenetic Organization of the Red Honey Ant (Melophorus bagoti).

Insects, 11(11):.

Kin selection and inclusive fitness are thought to be key factors explaining the reproductive altruism displayed by workers in eusocial insect species. However, when a colony's queen has mated with <2 males, workers may increase their fitness by producing their own male offspring. Conversely, when the queen has mated with ≥2 males, workers are expected to increase their inclusive fitness by eschewing the production of their sons and preventing other workers from reproducing as well. Here, we investigated sociogenetic structure and worker reproduction in the red honey ant, Melophorus bagoti. Morphometric analyses revealed that workers belong to one of two distinct subcastes: they are either majors or minors. Using DNA microsatellite markers, we showed that all the colonies had a single, multiple-mated queen and that there was no relationship between worker patriline and worker subcaste. Furthermore, we found that workers were producing males in the presence of the queen, which contrasts with the predictions of inclusive fitness theory. Although our results are based on a small sample, they can serve as the foundation for future research examining worker reproduction in M. bagoti.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Vitt S, Hiller J, T Thünken (2020)

Intrasexual selection: Kin competition increases male-male territorial aggression in a monogamous cichlid fish.

Ecology and evolution, 10(20):11183-11191.

During intrasexual competition, individuals of the same sex compete for access to breeding sites and mating partners, often accompanied by aggressive behavior. Kin selection theory predicts different kin-directed social interactions ranging from cooperation to aggression depending on the context and the resource in question. Kin competition reducing indirect fitness might be avoided by actively expelling relatives from territories and by showing higher aggression against kin. The West-African cichlid Pelvicachromis taeniatus is a monogamous cave breeder with males occupying and defending breeding sites against rivals. This species is capable of kin recognition and shows kin-preference during juvenile shoaling and mate choice. However, subadults of P. taeniatus seem to avoid the proximity of same-sex kin. In the present study, we examined territorial aggression of territory holders against intruding related and unrelated males as well as intruder's behavior. We observed higher aggression among related competitors suggesting that related males are less tolerated as neighbors. Avoidance of intrasexual competition with relatives might increase indirect fitness of males in monogamous species.

RevDate: 2020-11-18

Kay T, Keller L, L Lehmann (2020)

The evolution of altruism and the serial rediscovery of the role of relatedness.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(46):28894-28898.

The genetic evolution of altruism (i.e., a behavior resulting in a net reduction of the survival and/or reproduction of an actor to benefit a recipient) once perplexed biologists because it seemed paradoxical in a Darwinian world. More than half a century ago, W. D. Hamilton explained that when interacting individuals are genetically related, alleles for altruism can be favored by selection because they are carried by individuals more likely to interact with other individuals carrying the alleles for altruism than random individuals in the population ("kin selection"). In recent decades, a substantial number of supposedly alternative pathways to altruism have been published, leading to controversies surrounding explanations for the evolution of altruism. Here, we systematically review the 200 most impactful papers published on the evolution of altruism and identify 43 evolutionary models in which altruism evolves and where the authors attribute the evolution of altruism to a pathway other than kin selection and/or deny the role of relatedness. An analysis of these models reveals that in every case the life cycle assumptions entail local reproduction and local interactions, thereby leading to interacting individuals being genetically related. Thus, contrary to the authors' claims, Hamilton's relatedness drives the evolution to altruism in their models. The fact that several decades of investigating the evolution to altruism have resulted in the systematic and unwitting rediscovery of the same mechanism is testament to the fundamental importance of positive relatedness between actor and recipient for explaining the evolution of altruism.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Schausberger P, Y Sato (2020)

Kin-Mediated Male Choice and Alternative Reproductive Tactics in Spider Mites.

Biology, 9(11):.

Optimal outbreeding and kin selection theories state that the degree of kinship is a fundamental determinant in any mating system. However, the role of kinship in male choice and alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) is poorly known. We assessed the influence of kinship on male choice and expression of ARTs in two populations of two-spotted spider mites Tetranychus urticae. Male spider mites guard premature females, which is an indicator of mate choice, and may conditionally adopt fighting or sneaking tactics to secure access to females. Males competing with kin or non-kin were offered one kin or non-kin female (experiment 1) and single males were presented a choice of kin and non-kin females (experiment 2). Under kin competition, males of both populations were more prone to guard non-kin than kin females at a 3:1 fighter:sneaker ratio. Under non-kin competition, all males were fighters. Under no-choice, males used novelty as indicator of genetic dissimilarity, serving as absolute decision rule for outbreeding. Under choice, comparative evaluation allowed males to preferentially guard females with higher reproductive potential. Overall, our study suggests that male spider mites can assess kinship of rivals and prospective mates. Kin discrimination allows adaptive, context-specific non-random mating preference and adjustment of ARTs.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Gardner A, ICW Hardy (2020)

Adjustment of sex allocation to co-foundress number and kinship under local mate competition: An inclusive-fitness analysis.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Hamilton's theory of local mate competition (LMC) describes how competition between male relatives for mating opportunities favours a female-biased parental investment. LMC theory has been extended in many ways to explore a range of genetic and life-history influences on sex allocation strategies, including showing that increasing genetic homogeneity within mating groups should favour greater female bias. However, there has been no quantitative theoretical prediction as to how females should facultatively adjust their sex allocation in response to co-foundress number and kinship. This shortfall has been highlighted recently by the finding that sex ratios produced by sub-social parasitoid wasps in the family Bethylidae are affected by the number of co-foundresses and by whether these are sisters or unrelated females. Here we close this gap in LMC theory by taking an inclusive-fitness approach to derive explicit theoretical predictions for this scenario. We find that, in line with the recent empirical results, females should adopt a more female-biased sex allocation when their co-foundresses are less numerous and are their sisters. Our model appears to predict somewhat more female bias than is observed empirically; we discuss a number of possible model extensions that would improve realism and that would be expected to result in a closer quantitative fit with experimental data.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Madgwick PG (2020)

Spite and the Geometry of Negative Relatedness.

The American naturalist, 196(5):E119-E126.

AbstractSpite is the most surprising prediction of inclusive fitness theory because it suggests that a gene can be favored by natural selection despite causing harm to both the individuals that carry it and those around them. A gene for spite can only be favored because of negative relatedness, which means that the actor that carries the gene is less likely to share the gene for spite with the surrounding recipients than the random expectation. While positive relatedness can be simply reduced to the intuitive concept of kinship, negative relatedness is deeply counterintuitive. Here I clarify that negative relatedness is frequency dependent, and I identify a hidden assumption in its widely used formula. Accordingly, while the well-studied "lighter" side of inclusive fitness (with helping behaviors and positive relatedness) is dominated by traits that are favored under kin selection, I predict that the understudied "darker" side of inclusive fitness (with harming behaviors and negative relatedness) is dominated by traits that are favored under greenbeard/kind selection-and I discuss the existing evidence that tentatively supports this hypothesis.

RevDate: 2020-11-25
CmpDate: 2020-11-25

Revynthi AM, van Pol KE, Janssen A, et al (2020)

Males cannibalise and females disperse in the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis.

Experimental & applied acarology, 82(2):185-198.

Cannibalism is a widespread phenomenon in nature, often occurring when food is scarce, for example among predators that have overexploited a local prey population. Instead of cannibalising, predators can disperse, thereby avoiding being cannibalised or cannibalising related conspecifics, which results in inclusive fitness loss. Theory on prey exploitation in ephemeral predator-prey systems predicts that predators may be selected to display prudent predation by dispersing early, thus saving food for their remaining offspring. This is especially advantageous when average relatedness in the local population is high. Less prudent predators refrain from dispersing until all prey are exterminated. These prey exploitation strategies may also have repercussions for cannibalism, especially when it is driven by food shortage. We therefore investigated to what extent adult females and males cannibalise or disperse after prey have been exterminated locally. We used two lines of the haplodiploid predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis that were selected for early and late dispersal, respectively. In wind tunnels, we observed the cannibalistic and dispersal behaviour of individual adult predators of these lines on a rose leaf with only conspecific larvae as food. Both selection lines behaved similarly, indicating that selection on dispersal behaviour did not result in correlated effects on cannibalism behaviour. Male predators stayed significantly longer on the leaf and engaged more often in cannibalism than females. The results suggest that there might be gender-specific differences in cannibalistic tendency in relation to dispersal. Future theoretical studies on the evolution of cannibalism and dispersal should take differences between the genders into account.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Sun S, Broom M, Johanis M, et al (2021)

A mathematical model of kin selection in floral displays.

Journal of theoretical biology, 509:110470.

Plants can adjust their competitive traits for acquiring resources in response to the relatedness of their neighbours. Recently, it has been found that plants can alter their investment in traits of attracting pollinators based on kin-interaction. We build a mathematical model to study the optimal floral display to attract pollinators in a patch with kin structure. We show that when plants can attract pollinators to a whole patch through the magnet effect, the floral display should increase with the increasing relatedness of the plants in the patch. Our model also indicates that increasing investment into attracting pollinators is a form of altruism, reducing a plant's own seed production but increasing the contribution of other plants to its fitness. We also predict that seed production should increase with increasing relatedness in the patch. Our model provides the explicit conditions when resource allocation to attract pollinators in response to neighbour relatedness can be favoured by kin selection, and a possible mechanism for the plants to deal with the consequent loss of pollinator diversity and abundance.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Erb WM, LM Porter (2020)

Variable infant care contributions in cooperatively breeding groups of wild saddleback tamarins.

American journal of primatology, 82(12):e23190.

Among non-human primates, alloparental infant care is most extensive in callitrichines, and is thought to be particularly costly for tamarins whose helpers may suffer increased energy expenditure, weight loss, and reduced feeding time and mobility. The costs and benefits of infant care likely vary among group members yet very few wild studies have investigated variable infant care contributions. We studied infant care over an 8-month period in four wild groups of saddleback tamarins in Bolivia to evaluate: (a) what forms of infant care are provided, by whom, and when, (b) how individuals adjust their behavior (activity, vigilance, height) while caring for infants, and (c) whether individuals differ in their infant care contributions. We found that infant carrying, food sharing, and grooming varied among groups, and immigrant males-those who joined the group after infants were conceived-participated less in infant care compared to resident males. Adult tamarins fed less, rested more, and increased vigilance while carrying infants. Although we did not detect changes in overall activity budgets between prepartum and postpartum periods, tamarins spent more time scanning their environments postpartum, potentially reflecting increased predation risk to both carriers and infants during this period. Our study provides the first quantitative data on the timing and amount of infant carrying, grooming, and food transfer contributed by all individuals within and among multiple wild groups, filling a critical knowledge gap about the factors affecting infant care, and highlighting evolutionary hypotheses for cooperative breeding in tamarins.

RevDate: 2020-10-12
CmpDate: 2020-09-30

Darden SK, James R, Cave JM, et al (2020)

Trinidadian guppies use a social heuristic that can support cooperation among non-kin.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1934):20200487.

Cooperation among non-kin is well documented in humans and widespread in non-human animals, but explaining the occurrence of cooperation in the absence of inclusive fitness benefits has proven a significant challenge. Current theoretical explanations converge on a single point: cooperators can prevail when they cluster in social space. However, we know very little about the real-world mechanisms that drive such clustering, particularly in systems where cognitive limitations make it unlikely that mechanisms such as score keeping and reputation are at play. Here, we show that Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) use a 'walk away' strategy, a simple social heuristic by which assortment by cooperativeness can come about among mobile agents. Guppies cooperate during predator inspection and we found that when experiencing defection in this context, individuals prefer to move to a new social environment, despite having no prior information about this new social group. Our results provide evidence in non-human animals that individuals use a simple social partner updating strategy in response to defection, supporting theoretical work applying heuristics to understanding the proximate mechanisms underpinning the evolution of cooperation among non-kin.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Guoth AW, Chernyshova AM, GJ Thompson (2020)

Gene-regulatory context of honey bee worker sterility.

Bio Systems, 198:104235.

The highly organized societies of the Western honey bee Apis mellifera feature a highly reproductive queen at the center of attention and a large cohort of daughters that suppress their own reproduction to help rear more sisters, some of whom become queens themselves. This reproductive altruism is peculiar because in theory it evolves via indirect selection on genes for altruism that are expressed in the sterile workers but not in the reproductive queens. In this study we attempt to situate lists of genes previously implicated in queenright worker sterility into a broader regulatory framework. To do so we use a model bee brain transcriptional regulatory network as a template to infer how sets of genes responsive to ovary-suppressing queen pheromone are functionally interconnected over the model's topology. We predict that genes jointly involved in the regulation of worker sterility should be tightly networked, relative to genes whose functions are unrelated to each other. We find that sets of mapped genes - ranging in size from 17 to 250 - are well dispersed across the network's substructural scaffolds, suggesting that ovary de-activation involves genes that reside within more than one transcriptional regulatory module. For some sets, however, this dispersion is biased into certain areas of the network's substructure. Our analysis identifies the regions enriched for sterility genes and likewise identifies local hub genes that are presumably critical to subnetwork function. Our work offers a glimpse into the gene regulatory context of honey bee worker sterility and uses this context to identify new candidate gene targets for functional analysis. Finally, to the extent that any sterility-related modules identified here have evolved via selection for worker altruism, we can assume that this selection was indirect and of the type specifically invoked by inclusive fitness theory.

RevDate: 2020-09-01

Giehr J, Wallner J, Senninger L, et al (2020)

Substantial direct fitness gains of workers in a highly eusocial ant.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness suggests that helpers in animal societies gain fitness indirectly by increasing the reproductive performance of a related beneficiary. Helpers in cooperatively breeding birds, mammals and primitively eusocial wasps may additionally obtain direct fitness through inheriting the nest or mating partner of the former reproductive. Here, we show that also workers of a highly eusocial ant may achieve considerable direct fitness by producing males in both queenless and queenright colonies. We investigated the reproductive success of workers of the ant Temnothorax crassispinus in nature and the laboratory by dissecting workers and determining the origin of males by microsatellite analysis. We show that workers are capable of activating their ovaries and successfully producing their sons independently of the presence of a queen. Genotypes revealed that at least one fifth of the males in natural queenright colonies were not offspring of the queen. Most worker-produced males could be assigned to workers that were unrelated to the queen, suggesting egg-laying by drifting workers.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Ohtsuki H, Rueffler C, Wakano JY, et al (2020)

The components of directional and disruptive selection in heterogeneous group-structured populations.

Journal of theoretical biology, 507:110449.

We derive how directional and disruptive selection operate on scalar traits in a heterogeneous group-structured population for a general class of models. In particular, we assume that each group in the population can be in one of a finite number of states, where states can affect group size and/or other environmental variables, at a given time. Using up to second-order perturbation expansions of the invasion fitness of a mutant allele, we derive expressions for the directional and disruptive selection coefficients, which are sufficient to classify the singular strategies of adaptive dynamics. These expressions include first- and second-order perturbations of individual fitness (expected number of settled offspring produced by an individual, possibly including self through survival); the first-order perturbation of the stationary distribution of mutants (derived here explicitly for the first time); the first-order perturbation of pairwise relatedness; and reproductive values, pairwise and three-way relatedness, and stationary distribution of mutants, each evaluated under neutrality. We introduce the concept of individual k-fitness (defined as the expected number of settled offspring of an individual for which k-1 randomly chosen neighbors are lineage members) and show its usefulness for calculating relatedness and its perturbation. We then demonstrate that the directional and disruptive selection coefficients can be expressed in terms individual k-fitnesses with k=1,2,3 only. This representation has two important benefits. First, it allows for a significant reduction in the dimensions of the system of equations describing the mutant dynamics that needs to be solved to evaluate explicitly the two selection coefficients. Second, it leads to a biologically meaningful interpretation of their components. As an application of our methodology, we analyze directional and disruptive selection in a lottery model with either hard or soft selection and show that many previous results about selection in group-structured populations can be reproduced as special cases of our model.

RevDate: 2020-10-22
CmpDate: 2020-09-08

Hitchcock TJ, A Gardner (2020)

A gene's-eye view of sexual antagonism.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1932):20201633.

Females and males may face different selection pressures. Accordingly, alleles that confer a benefit for one sex often incur a cost for the other. Classic evolutionary theory holds that the X chromosome, whose sex-biased transmission sees it spending more time in females, should value females more than males, whereas autosomes, whose transmission is unbiased, should value both sexes equally. However, recent mathematical and empirical studies indicate that male-beneficial alleles may be more favoured by the X chromosome than by autosomes. Here we develop a gene's-eye-view approach that reconciles the classic view with these recent discordant results, by separating a gene's valuation of female versus male fitness from its ability to induce fitness effects in either sex. We use this framework to generate new comparative predictions for sexually antagonistic evolution in relation to dosage compensation, sex-specific mortality and assortative mating, revealing how molecular mechanisms, ecology and demography drive variation in masculinization versus feminization across the genome.

RevDate: 2020-08-11

Port M, Hildenbrandt H, Pen I, et al (2020)

The evolution of social philopatry in female primates.

American journal of physical anthropology [Epub ahead of print].

The transition from solitary life to sociality is considered one of the major transitions in evolution. In primates, this transition is currently not well understood. Traditional verbal models appear insufficient to unravel the complex interplay of environmental and demographic factors involved in the evolution of primate sociality, and recent phylogenetic reconstructions have produced conflicting results. We therefore analyze a theoretical model for the evolution of female social philopatry that sheds new light on the question why most primates live in groups. In individual-based simulations, we study the evolution of dispersal strategies of both resident females and their offspring. The model reveals that social philopatry can evolve through kin selection, even if retention of offspring is costly in terms of within-group resource competition and provides no direct benefits. Our model supports the role of predator avoidance as a selective pressure for group-living in primates, but it also suggests that a second benefit of group-living, communal resource defense, might be required to trigger the evolution of sizable groups. Lastly, our model reveals that seemingly small differences in demographic parameters can have profound effects on primate social evolution.

RevDate: 2020-11-04

De Moor D, Roos C, Ostner J, et al (2020)

Bonds of bros and brothers: Kinship and social bonding in postdispersal male macaques.

Molecular ecology, 29(17):3346-3360.

Group-living animals often maintain a few very close affiliative relationships-social bonds-that can buffer them against many of the inevitable costs of gregariousness. Kinship plays a central role in the development of such social bonds. The bulk of research on kin biases in sociality has focused on philopatric females, who typically live in deeply kin-structured systems, with matrilineal dominance rank inheritance and life-long familiarity between kin. Closely related males, in contrast, are usually not close in rank or familiar, which offers the opportunity to test the importance of kinship per se in the formation of social bonds. So far, however, kin biases in male social bonding have only been tested in philopatric males, where familiarity remains a confounding factor. Here, we studied bonds between male Assamese macaques, a species in which males disperse from their natal groups and in which male bonds are known to affect fitness. Combining extensive behavioural data on 43 adult males over a 10-year period with DNA microsatellite relatedness analyses, we find that postdispersal males form stronger relationships with the few close kin available in the group than with the average nonkin. However, males form the majority of their bonds with nonkin and may choose nonkin over available close kin to bond with. Our results show that kinship facilitates bond formation, but is not a prerequisite for it, which suggests that strong bonds are not restricted to kin in male mammals and that animals cooperate for both direct and indirect fitness benefits.

RevDate: 2020-10-19
CmpDate: 2020-10-19

Yamamichi M, Kyogoku D, Iritani R, et al (2020)

Intraspecific Adaptation Load: A Mechanism for Species Coexistence.

Trends in ecology & evolution, 35(10):897-907.

Evolutionary ecological theory suggests that selection arising from interactions with conspecifics, such as sexual and kin selection, may result in evolution of intraspecific conflicts and evolutionary 'tragedy of the commons'. Here, we propose that such an evolution of conspecific conflicts may affect population dynamics in a way that enhances species coexistence. Empirical evidence and theoretical models suggest that more abundant species is more susceptible to invasion of 'selfish' individuals that increase their own reproductive success at the expense of population growth (intraspecific adaptation load). The density-dependent intraspecific adaptation load gives rise to a self-regulation mechanism at the population level, and stabilizes species coexistence at the community level by negative frequency-dependence.

RevDate: 2020-11-23
CmpDate: 2020-11-23

Ducouret P, Romano A, Dreiss AN, et al (2020)

Elder Barn Owl Nestlings Flexibly Redistribute Parental Food according to Siblings' Need or in Return for Allopreening.

The American naturalist, 196(2):257-269.

Kin selection and reciprocation of biological services are distinct theories invoked to explain the origin and evolutionary maintenance of altruistic and cooperative behaviors. Although these behaviors are not considered to be mutually exclusive, the cost-benefit balance of behaving altruistically or cooperating reciprocally and the conditions promoting a switch between such different strategies have rarely been tested. Here, we examine the association between allofeeding, allopreening, and vocal solicitations in wild barn owl (Tyto alba) broods under different food abundance conditions: natural food provisioning and after an experimental food supplementation. Allofeeding was performed mainly by elder nestlings (hatching is asynchronous) in prime condition, especially when the cost of forgoing a prey was small (when parents allocated more prey to the food donor and after food supplementation). Nestlings preferentially shared food with the siblings that emitted very intense calls, thus potentially increasing indirect fitness benefits, or with the siblings that provided extensive allopreening to the donor, thus possibly promoting direct benefits from reciprocation. Finally, allopreening was mainly directed toward older siblings, perhaps to maximize the probability of being fed in return. Helping behavior among relatives can therefore be driven by both kin selection and direct cooperation, although it is dependent on the contingent environmental conditions.

RevDate: 2020-09-15

Kogay R, Wolf YI, Koonin EV, et al (2020)

Selection for Reducing Energy Cost of Protein Production Drives the GC Content and Amino Acid Composition Bias in Gene Transfer Agents.

mBio, 11(4):.

Gene transfer agents (GTAs) are virus-like elements integrated into bacterial genomes, particularly, those of Alphaproteobacteria The GTAs can be induced under conditions of nutritional stress, incorporate random fragments of bacterial DNA into miniphage particles, lyse the host cells, and infect neighboring bacteria, thus enhancing horizontal gene transfer. We show that GTA genes evolve under conditions of pronounced positive selection for the reduction of the energy cost of protein production as shown by comparison of the amino acid compositions with those of both homologous viral genes and host genes. The energy saving in GTA genes is comparable to or even more pronounced than that in the genes encoding the most abundant, essential bacterial proteins. In cases in which viruses acquire genes from GTAs, the bias in amino acid composition disappears in the course of evolution, showing that reduction of the energy cost of protein production is an important factor of evolution of GTAs but not bacterial viruses. These findings strongly suggest that GTAs represent bacterial adaptations rather than selfish, virus-like elements. Because GTA production kills the host cell and does not propagate the GTA genome, it appears likely that the GTAs are retained in the course of evolution via kin or group selection. Therefore, we hypothesize that GTAs facilitate the survival of bacterial populations under energy-limiting conditions through the spread of metabolic and transport capabilities via horizontal gene transfer and increases in nutrient availability resulting from the altruistic suicide of GTA-producing cells.IMPORTANCE Kin selection and group selection remain controversial topics in evolutionary biology. We argue that these types of selection are likely to operate in bacterial populations by showing that bacterial gene transfer agents (GTAs), but not related viruses, evolve under conditions of positive selection for the reduction of the energy cost of GTA particle production. We hypothesize that GTAs are dedicated devices mediating the survival of bacteria under conditions of nutrient limitation. The benefits conferred by GTAs under nutritional stress conditions appear to include horizontal dissemination of genes that could provide bacteria with enhanced capabilities for nutrient utilization and increases of nutrient availability occurring through the lysis of GTA-producing bacteria.

RevDate: 2020-10-20
CmpDate: 2020-10-20

O'Corry-Crowe G, Suydam R, Quakenbush L, et al (2020)

Group structure and kinship in beluga whale societies.

Scientific reports, 10(1):11462.

Evolutionary explanations for mammalian sociality typically center on inclusive-fitness benefits of associating and cooperating with close kin, or close maternal kin as in some whale societies, including killer and sperm whales. Their matrilineal structure has strongly influenced the thinking about social structure in less well-studied cetaceans, including beluga whales. In a cross-sectional study of group structure and kinship we found that belugas formed a limited number of distinct group types, consistently observed across populations and habitats. Certain behaviours were associated with group type, but group membership was often dynamic. MtDNA-microsatellite profiling combined with relatedness and network analysis revealed, contrary to predictions, that most social groupings were not predominantly organized around close maternal relatives. They comprised both kin and non-kin, many group members were paternal rather than maternal relatives, and unrelated adult males often traveled together. The evolutionary mechanisms that shape beluga societies are likely complex; fitness benefits may be achieved through reciprocity, mutualism and kin selection. At the largest scales these societies are communities comprising all ages and both sexes where multiple social learning pathways involving kin and non-kin can foster the emergence of cultures. We explore the implications of these findings for species management and the evolution of menopause.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Hockings N, D Howard (2020)

New Biological Morphogenetic Methods for Evolutionary Design of Robot Bodies.

Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology, 8:621.

We present some currently unused morphogenetic mechanisms from evolutionary biology and guidelines for transfer to evolutionary robotics. (1) DNA patterns providing mutation of mutability, lead to canalization of evolvable bauplans, via kin selection. (2) Morphogenetic mechanisms (i) Epigenetic cell lines provide functional cell types, and identification of cell descent. (ii) Local anatomical coordinates based on diffusion of morphogens, facilitate evolvable genetic parameterizations of complex phenotypes (iii) Remodeling in response to mechanical forces facilitates robust production of well-integrated phenotypes of greater complexity than the genome. An approach is proposed for the tractable application of mutation-of-mutability and morphogenetic mechanisms in evolutionary robotics. The purpose of these methods, is to facilitate production of robot mechanisms of the subtlety, efficiency, and efficacy of the musculoskeletal and dermal systems of animals.

RevDate: 2020-08-12

Araya-Ajoy YG, Westneat DF, J Wright (2020)

Pathways to social evolution and their evolutionary feedbacks.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution [Epub ahead of print].

In the context of social evolution, the ecological drivers of selection are the phenotypes of other individuals. The social environment can thus evolve, potentially changing the adaptive value for different social strategies. Different branches of evolutionary biology have traditionally focused on different aspects of these feedbacks. Here, we synthesize behavioral ecology theory concerning evolutionarily stable strategies when fitness is frequency dependent with quantitative genetic models providing statistical descriptions of evolutionary responses to social selection. Using path analyses, we review how social interactions influence the strength of selection and how social responsiveness, social impact, and non-random social assortment affect responses to social selection. We then detail how the frequency-dependent nature of social interactions fits into this framework and how it imposes selection on traits mediating social responsiveness, social impact, and social assortment, further affecting evolutionary dynamics. Throughout, we discuss the parameters in quantitative genetics models of social evolution from a behavioral ecology perspective and identify their statistical counterparts in empirical studies. This integration of behavioral ecology and quantitative genetic perspectives should lead to greater clarity in the generation of hypotheses and more focused empirical research regarding evolutionary pathways and feedbacks inherent in specific social interactions.

RevDate: 2020-07-26

Lee DS, Mandalaywala TM, Dubuc C, et al (2020)

Higher early life mortality with lower infant body mass in a free-ranging primate.

The Journal of animal ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Traits that reflect the amount of energy allocated to offspring by mothers, such as infant body mass, are predicted to have long-lasting effects on offspring fitness. In very long-lived species, such as anthropoid primates, where long-lasting and obligate parental care is required for successful recruitment of offspring, there are few studies on the fitness implications of low body mass among infants. Using body mass data collected from 253 free-ranging rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta infants on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, we examined if lower infant body mass predicts lower chance of survival through to reproductive maturation (4th year of life). We also used data on inter-birth intervals and suckling behaviours to determine whether the duration of maternal care was adjusted to infant body mass. Rhesus macaque infants experienced on average 5% reduced hazard of death for an increase in body mass of 0.1 SD (~100 g) above the mean within their age-sex class. The positive association between body mass and early life survival was most pronounced in the 1st year of life. Infant body mass tended to be lower if mothers were young or old, but the link between infant body mass and early life survival remained after controlling for maternal age. This finding suggests that maternal effects on early life survival such as maternal age may act through their influence on infant body mass. Mothers of heavier infants were less likely to be delayed in subsequent reproduction, but the estimated association slightly overlapped with zero. The timing of the last week of suckling did not differ by infant body mass. Using infant body mass data that has been rarely available from free-ranging primates, our study provides comparative evidence to strengthen the existing body of literature on the fitness implications of variation in infant body mass.

RevDate: 2020-08-27
CmpDate: 2020-08-25

Keaney TA, Wong HWS, Dowling DK, et al (2020)

Sibling rivalry versus mother's curse: can kin competition facilitate a response to selection on male mitochondria?.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1930):20200575.

Assuming that fathers never transmit mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to their offspring, mitochondrial mutations that affect male fitness are invisible to direct selection on males, leading to an accumulation of male-harming alleles in the mitochondrial genome (mother's curse). However, male phenotypes encoded by mtDNA can still undergo adaptation via kin selection provided that males interact with females carrying related mtDNA, such as their sisters. Here, using experiments with Drosophila melanogaster carrying standardized nuclear DNA but distinct mitochondrial DNA, we test whether the mitochondrial haplotype carried by interacting pairs of larvae affects survival to adulthood, as well as the fitness of the adults. Although mtDNA had no detectable direct or indirect genetic effect on larva-to-adult survival, the fitness of male and female adults was significantly affected by their own mtDNA and the mtDNA carried by their social partner in the larval stage. Thus, mtDNA mutations that alter the effect of male larvae on nearby female larvae (which often carry the same mutation, due to kinship) could theoretically respond to kin selection. We discuss the implications of our findings for the evolution of mitochondria and other maternally inherited endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Gyuris P, Kozma L, Kisander Z, et al (2020)

Sibling Relations in Patchwork Families: Co-residence Is More Influential Than Genetic Relatedness.

Frontiers in psychology, 11:993.

In "patchwork" families, full siblings, maternal and paternal half-siblings, and non-related children are raised together, and sometimes, genetically related children are separated. As their number is steadily growing, the investigation of the factors that influence within-family relations is becoming more important. Our aim was to explore whether people differentiate between half- and full-siblings in their social relations as implied by the theory of inclusive fitness, and to test whether co-residence or genetic relatedness improves sibling relations to a larger extent. We administered the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire to 196 individuals who were in contact with full-, half-, or step-siblings in their childhood. We built Generalized Linear Mixed Models models to test for the effects of relatedness and co-residence on sibling relations. In general, a higher degree of relatedness was associated with better sibling relations, but only among those who did not live together during childhood. Co-resident siblings' overall pattern of relation quality was not influenced by the actual level of genetic relatedness. In contrast to this, full siblings reported having experienced more conflicts during childhood than half-siblings, possibly resulting from enhanced competition for the same parental resources. The results suggest that inclusive fitness drives siblings' relations even in recent industrial societies. However, among individuals who live together, the effect of relatedness might be obscured by fitness interdependence and the subjective feeling of kinship.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Pang TY (2020)

On age-specific selection and extensive lifespan beyond menopause.

Royal Society open science, 7(5):191972.

Standard evolutionary theory of ageing predicts weaker purifying selection on genes critical to later life stages. Prolonged post-reproductive lifespan (PPRLS), observed only in a few species like humans, is likely a result of disparate relaxation of purifying selection on survival and reproduction in late life stages. While the exact origin of PPRLS is under debate, many researchers agree on hypotheses like mother-care and grandmother-care, which ascribe PPRLS to investment into future generations-provision to one's descendants to enhance their overall reproductive success. Here, we simulate an agent-based model, which properly accounts for age-specific selection, to examine how different investment strategies affect the strength of purifying selection on survival and reproduction. We observed in the simulations that investment strategies that allow a female individual to remain contributive to its own descendants (infants and adults) at late life stages may lead to differential relaxation of selection on survival and reproduction, and incur the adaptive evolution of PPRLS.

RevDate: 2020-07-25

Granato ET, KR Foster (2020)

The Evolution of Mass Cell Suicide in Bacterial Warfare.

Current biology : CB, 30(14):2836-2843.e3.

Behaviors that cause the death of an actor are typically strongly disfavored by natural selection, and yet many bacteria undergo cell lysis to release anti-competitor toxins [1-5]. This behavior is most easily explained if only a small proportion of cells die to release toxins and help their clonemates, but the frequency of cells that actually lyse during bacterial warfare is unknown. The challenge is finding a way to distinguish cells that have undergone programmed suicide from those that were simply killed by a competitor's toxin. We developed a two-color fluorescence reporter assay in Escherichia coli to overcome this problem. This revealed conditions where nearly all cells undergo programmed lysis. Specifically, adding a DNA-damaging toxin (DNase colicin) from another strain induced mass cell suicide where ∼85% of cells lysed to release their own toxins. Time-lapse 3D confocal microscopy showed that self-lysis occurs locally at even higher frequencies (∼94%) at the interface between toxin-producing colonies. By exposing E. coli that do not perform lysis to the DNase colicin, we found that mass lysis occurs when cells are going to die anyway from toxin exposure. From an evolutionary perspective, this renders the behavior cost-free as these cells have zero reproductive potential. This helps to explain how mass cell suicide can evolve, as any small benefit to surviving clonemates can lead to this retaliatory strategy being favored by natural selection. Our findings have parallels to the suicidal attacks of social insects [6-9], which are also performed by individuals with low reproductive potential.

RevDate: 2020-10-26
CmpDate: 2020-10-26

Downing PA, Griffin AS, CK Cornwallis (2020)

The Benefits of Help in Cooperative Birds: Nonexistent or Difficult to Detect?.

The American naturalist, 195(6):1085-1091.

In birds that breed cooperatively in family groups, adult offspring often delay dispersal to assist the breeding pair in raising their young. Kin selection is thought to play an important role in the evolution of this breeding system. However, evidence supporting the underlying assumption that helpers increase the reproductive success of breeders is inconsistent. In 10 out of 19 species where the effect of helpers on breeder reproductive success has been estimated while controlling for the effects of breeder and territory quality, no benefits of help were detected. Here, we use phylogenetic meta-analysis to show that the inconsistent evidence for helper benefits across species is explained by study design. After accounting for low sample sizes and the different study designs used to control for breeder and territory quality, we found that helpers consistently enhanced the reproductive success of breeders. Therefore, the assumption that helpers increase breeder reproductive success is supported by evidence across cooperatively breeding birds.

RevDate: 2020-10-21
CmpDate: 2020-10-21

Faria GS, Gardner A, P Carazo (2020)

Kin discrimination and demography modulate patterns of sexual conflict.

Nature ecology & evolution, 4(8):1141-1148.

Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the overlap between kin selection and sexual selection, particularly concerning how kin selection can put the brakes on harmful sexual conflict. However, there remains a significant disconnect between theory and empirical research. Whilst empirical work has focused on kin-discriminating behaviour, theoretical models have assumed indiscriminating behaviour. Additionally, theoretical work makes particular demographic assumptions that constrain the relationship between genetic relatedness and the scale of competition, and it is not clear that these assumptions reflect the natural setting in which sexual conflict has been empirically studied. Here, we plug this gap between current theoretical and empirical understanding by developing a mathematical model of sexual conflict that incorporates kin discrimination and different patterns of dispersal. We find that kin discrimination and group dispersal inhibit harmful male behaviours at an individual level, but kin discrimination intensifies sexual conflict at the population level.

RevDate: 2020-05-23

Timming AR, MT French (2020)

The effect of genetic vs nongenetic parental care on adult children's income and wealth in later life: An evolutionary analysis.

American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Using Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data set, this preregistered study set out to investigate the effect of parental care arrangements (eg, genetically related parents, adoptive, step/ foster, genetic nonparental relative, and no parental figure) on adult children's income and wealth in later life.

METHODS: Consistent with the preregistration plan, multivariate analyses of covariance were first used to examine, separately, the effects of paternal and maternal care arrangements on children's income and wealth in later life. Further post hoc exploratory analyses were carried out to evaluate the robustness of the findings.

RESULTS: The results indicate that individual earnings in later life are unrelated to paternal care arrangements, thus questioning a key tenet of kin selection theory. However, children raised by biological fathers and adoptive fathers still enjoy significant economic advantages over nongenetic father figures and homes without fathers in relation to household income and wealth.

CONCLUSIONS: Prevailing theories suggest that children raised by relatives, nongenetically related parents, and no father or mother suffer from a lack of parental investment that should manifest itself in reduced earnings and assets in adulthood. These theories are only partially correct, with evidence pointing to no deleterious effect of variable parental arrangements on individual earnings.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Termignoni-Garcia F, Louder MIM, Balakrishnan CN, et al (2020)

Prospects for sociogenomics in avian cooperative breeding and parental care.

Current zoology, 66(3):293-306.

For the last 40 years, the study of cooperative breeding (CB) in birds has proceeded primarily in the context of discovering the ecological, geographical, and behavioral drivers of helping. The advent of molecular tools in the early 1990s assisted in clarifying the relatedness of helpers to those helped, in some cases, confirming predictions of kin selection theory. Methods for genome-wide analysis of sequence variation, gene expression, and epigenetics promise to add new dimensions to our understanding of avian CB, primarily in the area of molecular and developmental correlates of delayed breeding and dispersal, as well as the ontogeny of achieving parental status in nature. Here, we outline key ways in which modern -omics approaches, in particular genome sequencing, transcriptomics, and epigenetic profiling such as ATAC-seq, can be used to add a new level of analysis of avian CB. Building on recent and ongoing studies of avian social behavior and sociogenomics, we review how high-throughput sequencing of a focal species or clade can provide a robust foundation for downstream, context-dependent destructive and non-destructive sampling of specific tissues or physiological states in the field for analysis of gene expression and epigenetics. -Omics approaches have the potential to inform not only studies of the diversification of CB over evolutionary time, but real-time analyses of behavioral interactions in the field or lab. Sociogenomics of birds represents a new branch in the network of methods used to study CB, and can help clarify ways in which the different levels of analysis of CB ultimately interact in novel and unexpected ways.

RevDate: 2020-09-23

Sapp JR, Yost J, BE Lyon (2020)

The socially parasitic ant Polyergus mexicanus has host-associated genetic population structure and related neighbouring colonies.

Molecular ecology, 29(11):2050-2062.

The genetic structure of populations can be both a cause and a consequence of ecological interactions. For parasites, genetic structure may be a consequence of preferences for host species or of mating behaviour. Conversely, genetic structure can influence where conspecific interactions among parasites lay on a spectrum from cooperation to conflict. We used microsatellite loci to characterize the genetic structure of a population of the socially parasitic dulotic (aka "slave-making") ant (Polyergus mexicanus), which is known for its host-specificity and conspecific aggression. First, we assessed whether the pattern of host species use by the parasite has influenced parasite population structure. We found that host species use was correlated with subpopulation structure, but this correlation was imperfect: some subpopulations used one host species nearly exclusively, while others used several. Second, we examined the viscosity of the parasite population by measuring the relatedness of pairs of neighbouring parasitic ant colonies at varying distances from each other. Although natural history observations of local dispersal by queens suggested the potential for viscosity, there was no strong correlation between relatedness and distance between colonies. However, 35% of colonies had a closely related neighbouring colony, indicating that kinship could potentially affect the nature of some interactions between colonies of this social parasite. Our findings confirm that ecological forces like host species selection can shape the genetic structure of parasite populations, and that such genetic structure has the potential to influence parasite-parasite interactions in social parasites via inclusive fitness.

RevDate: 2020-11-30
CmpDate: 2020-11-30

Schausberger P, D Çekin (2020)

Plastic female choice to optimally balance (k)in- and out-breeding in a predatory mite.

Scientific reports, 10(1):7861.

Both close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding may negatively affect direct fitness. Optimal outbreeding theory suggests that females should preferentially mate with distantly related males. (K)in breeding theory suggests that, at similar direct fitness costs of close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding, females should prefer close kin to non-kin. Empirical evidence of plastic female choice for an optimal balance between close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding remains elusive. We tested the combined predictions of optimal outbreeding and (k)in breeding theories in predatory mites Phytoseiulus persimilis from two origins, Sicily and Greece, which suffer from both close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding depression. In three separate experiments, virgin females were presented binary choices between familiar and unfamiliar brothers, and between familiar/unfamiliar brothers and distant kin or non-kin. Females of Greece but not Sicily preferred unfamiliar to familiar brothers. Females of both origins preferred distant kin to unfamiliar and familiar brothers but preferred unfamiliar brothers to non-kin. Females of Sicily but not Greece preferred familiar brothers to non-kin. The suggested kin recognition mechanisms are phenotype matching and direct familiarity, with finer-tuned recognition abilities of Greece females. Overall, our experiments suggest that flexible mate choice by P. persimilis females allows optimally balancing inclusive fitness trade-offs.

RevDate: 2020-09-11

Bhattacharjee S, AK Mishra (2020)

The tale of caspase homologues and their evolutionary outlook: deciphering programmed cell death in cyanobacteria.

Journal of experimental botany, 71(16):4639-4657.

Programmed cell death (PCD), a genetically orchestrated mechanism of cellular demise, is paradoxically required to support life. As in lower eukaryotes and bacteria, PCD in cyanobacteria is poorly appreciated, despite recent biochemical and molecular evidence that supports its existence. Cyanobacterial PCD is an altruistic reaction to stressful conditions that significantly enhances genetic diversity and inclusive fitness of the population. Recent bioinformatic analysis has revealed an abundance of death-related proteases, i.e. orthocaspases (OCAs) and their mutated variants, in cyanobacteria, with the larger genomes of morphologically complex strains harbouring most of them. Sequence analysis has depicted crucial accessory domains along with the proteolytic p20-like sub-domain in OCAs, predicting their functional versatility. However, the cascades involved in sensing death signals, their transduction, and the downstream expression and activation of OCAs remain to be elucidated. Here, we provide a comprehensive description of the attempts to identify mechanisms of PCD and the existence and importance of OCAs based on in silico approaches. We also review the evolutionary and ecological significance of PCD in cyanobacteria. In the future, the analysis of cyanobacterial PCD will identify novel proteins that have varied functional roles in signalling cascades and also help in understanding the incipient mechanism of PCD morphotype(s) from where eukaryotic PCD might have originated.

RevDate: 2020-10-23
CmpDate: 2020-10-23

Thünken T, Hesse S, D Meuthen (2020)

Increased Levels of Perceived Competition Decrease Juvenile Kin-Shoaling Preferences in a Cichlid Fish.

The American naturalist, 195(5):868-875.

Inclusive fitness theory predicts that individuals can increase their indirect fitness by grouping with kin. However, kin grouping also increases competition between kin, which potentially outweighs its benefits. The level of kin competition is contingent on environmental conditions and thus highly variable. Hence, individuals should benefit from plastically adjusting kin discrimination according to the expected level of kin competition. Here, we investigate whether perceived high competition affects juvenile kin-shoaling preferences in the cichlid Pelvicachromis taeniatus. Juveniles were given the choice between two shoals consisting of either kin or nonkin. Levels of perceived competition were manipulated through food limitation in the face of the differential energy expenditure of differently sized fish. The preference to shoal with kin decreased with increasing levels of perceived competition; small food-deprived individuals avoided kin. Shoaling with kin under strong competition may reduce individual indirect fitness. Hence, individuals can likely improve their inclusive fitness by plastically adjusting their kin-grouping preferences.

RevDate: 2020-08-03
CmpDate: 2020-08-03

Makarenko R, Denis C, Francesconi S, et al (2020)

Nitrogen starvation reveals the mitotic potential of mutants in the S/MAPK pathways.

Nature communications, 11(1):1973.

The genetics of quiescence is an emerging field compared to that of growth, yet both states generate spontaneous mutations and genetic diversity fueling evolution. Reconciling mutation rates in dividing conditions and mutation accumulation as a function of time in non-dividing situations remains a challenge. Nitrogen-starved fission yeast cells reversibly arrest proliferation, are metabolically active and highly resistant to a variety of stresses. Here, we show that mutations in stress- and mitogen-activated protein kinase (S/MAPK) signaling pathways are enriched in aging cultures. Targeted resequencing and competition experiments indicate that these mutants arise in the first month of quiescence and expand clonally during the second month at the expense of the parental population. Reconstitution experiments show that S/MAPK modules mediate the sacrifice of many cells for the benefit of some mutants. These findings suggest that non-dividing conditions promote genetic diversity to generate a social cellular environment prone to kin selection.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Madgwick PG, JB Wolf (2020)

Evolution of strategic cooperation.

Evolution letters, 4(2):164-175.

Group-beneficial behaviors have presented a long-standing challenge for evolutionary theory because, although their benefits are available to all group members, their costs are borne by individuals. Consequently, an individual could benefit from "cheating" their group mates by not paying the costs while still reaping the benefits. There have been many proposed evolutionary mechanisms that could favor cooperation (and disfavor cheating) in particular circumstances. However, if cooperation is still favored in some circumstances, then we might expect evolution to favor strategic cooperation, where the level of contribution toward group-beneficial behavior is varied in response to the social context. To uncover how and why individuals should contribute toward group-beneficial behavior across social contexts, we model strategic cooperation as an evolutionary game where players can quantitatively adjust the amount they contribute toward group-beneficial behavior. We find that the evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) predicts, unsurprisingly, that players should contribute in relation to their relatedness to the group. However, we surprisingly find that players often contribute to cooperation in such a way that their fitness is inverse to their relatedness to the group such that those that contribute to cooperation end up with the same return from group-beneficial behavior, essentially removing any potential advantage of higher relatedness. These results bring to light a paradox of group-beneficial cooperation: groups do best when they contain highly related individuals, but those with the highest relatedness to the group will often have the lowest fitness within the group.

RevDate: 2020-07-30

Galimov ER, D Gems (2020)

Shorter life and reduced fecundity can increase colony fitness in virtual Caenorhabditis elegans.

Aging cell, 19(5):e13141.

In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, loss of function of many genes leads to increases in lifespan, sometimes of a very large magnitude. Could this reflect the occurrence of programmed death that, like apoptosis of cells, promotes fitness? The notion that programmed death evolves as a mechanism to remove worn out, old individuals in order to increase food availability for kin is not supported by classic evolutionary theory for most species. However, it may apply in organisms with colonies of closely related individuals such as C. elegans in which largely clonal populations subsist on spatially limited food patches. Here, we ask whether food competition between nonreproductive adults and their clonal progeny could favor programmed death by using an in silico model of C. elegans. Colony fitness was estimated as yield of dauer larva propagules from a limited food patch. Simulations showed that not only shorter lifespan but also shorter reproductive span and reduced adult feeding rate can increase colony fitness, potentially by reducing futile food consumption. Early adult death was particularly beneficial when adult food consumption rate was high. These results imply that programmed, adaptive death could promote colony fitness in C. elegans through a consumer sacrifice mechanism. Thus, C. elegans lifespan may be limited not by aging in the usual sense but rather by apoptosis-like programmed death.

RevDate: 2020-09-22

Lymbery SJ, Wyber B, Tomkins JL, et al (2020)

No evidence for divergence in male harmfulness or female resistance in response to changes in the opportunity for dispersal.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 33(7):966-978.

The outcome of sexual conflict can depend on the social environment, as males respond to changes in the inclusive fitness payoffs of harmfulness and harm females less when they compete with familiar relatives. Theoretical models also predict that if limited male dispersal predictably enhances local relatedness while maintaining global competition, kin selection can produce evolutionary divergences in male harmfulness among populations. Experimental tests of these predictions, however, are rare. We assessed rates of dispersal in female and male seed beetles Callosobruchus maculatus, a model species for studies of sexual conflict, in an experimental setting. Females dispersed significantly more often than males, but dispersing males travelled just as far as dispersing females. Next, we used experimental evolution to test whether limiting dispersal allowed the action of kin selection to affect divergence in male harmfulness and female resistance. Populations of C. maculatus were evolved for 20 and 25 generations under one of three dispersal regimens: completely free dispersal, limited dispersal and no dispersal. There was no divergence among treatments in female reproductive tract scarring, ejaculate size, mating behaviour, fitness of experimental females mated to stock males or fitness of stock females mated to experimental males. We suggest that this is likely due to insufficient strength of kin selection rather than a lack of genetic variation or time for selection. Limited dispersal alone is therefore not sufficient for kin selection to reduce male harmfulness in this species, consistent with general predictions that limited dispersal will only allow kin selection if local relatedness is independent of the intensity of competition among kin.

RevDate: 2020-07-29

Smith NMA, Yagound B, Remnant EJ, et al (2020)

Paternally-biased gene expression follows kin-selected predictions in female honey bee embryos.

Molecular ecology, 29(8):1523-1533.

The Kinship Theory of Genomic Imprinting (KTGI) posits that, in species where females mate with multiple males, there is selection for a male to enhance the reproductive success of his offspring at the expense of other males and his mating partner. Reciprocal crosses between honey bee subspecies show parent-of-origin effects for reproductive traits, suggesting that males modify the expression of genes related to female function in their female offspring. This effect is likely to be greater in the Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis), because a male's daughters have the unique ability to produce female offspring that can develop into reproductive workers or the next queen without mating. We generated reciprocal crosses between Capensis and another subspecies and used RNA-seq to identify transcripts that are over- or underexpressed in the embryos, depending on the parental origin of the gene. As predicted, 21 genes showed expression bias towards the Capensis father's allele in colonies with a Capensis father, with no such bias in the reciprocal cross. A further six genes showed a consistent bias towards expression of the father's allele across all eight colonies examined, regardless of the direction of the cross. Consistent with predictions of the KTGI, six of the 21 genes are associated with female reproduction. No gene consistently showed overexpression of the maternal allele.

RevDate: 2020-09-28
CmpDate: 2020-09-28

Lehmann L, F Rousset (2020)

When Do Individuals Maximize Their Inclusive Fitness?.

The American naturalist, 195(4):717-732.

Adaptation is often described in behavioral ecology as individuals maximizing their inclusive fitness. Under what conditions does this hold, and how does this relate to the gene-centered perspective of adaptation? We unify and extend the literature on these questions to class-structured populations. We demonstrate that the maximization (in the best-response sense) of class-specific inclusive fitness obtains in uninvadable population states (meaning that all deviating mutants become extinct). This defines a genuine actor-centered perspective on adaptation. But this inclusive fitness is assigned to all bearers of a mutant allele in a given class and depends on distributions of demographic and genetic contexts. These distributions, in turn, usually depend on events in previous generations and are thus not under individual control. This prevents, in general, envisioning individuals themselves as autonomous fitness maximizers, each with its own inclusive fitness. For weak selection, however, the dependence on earlier events can be neglected. We then show that each individual in each class appears to maximize its own inclusive fitness when all other individuals exhibit inclusive fitness-maximizing behavior. This defines a genuine individual-centered perspective of adaptation and justifies formally, as a first-order approximation, the long-heralded view of individuals appearing to maximize their own inclusive fitness.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Gerber L, Connor RC, King SL, et al (2020)

Affiliation history and age similarity predict alliance formation in adult male bottlenose dolphins.

Behavioral ecology : official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 31(2):361-370.

Male alliances are an intriguing phenomenon in the context of reproduction since, in most taxa, males compete over an indivisible resource, female fertilization. Adult male bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Shark Bay, Western Australia, form long-term, multilevel alliances to sequester estrus females. These alliances are therefore critical to male reproductive success. Yet, the long-term processes leading to the formation of such complex social bonds are still poorly understood. To identify the criteria by which male dolphins form social bonds with other males, we adopted a long-term approach by investigating the ontogeny of alliance formation. We followed the individual careers of 59 males for 14 years while they transitioned from adolescence (8-14 years of age) to adulthood (15-21 years old). Analyzing their genetic relationships and social associations in both age groups, we found that the vast majority of social bonds present in adolescence persisted through time. Male associations in early life predict alliance partners as adults. Kinship patterns explained associations during adolescence but not during adulthood. Instead, adult males associated with males of similar age. Our findings suggest that social bonds among peers, rather than kinship, play a central role in the development of adult male polyadic cooperation in dolphins.

RevDate: 2020-07-30
CmpDate: 2020-07-30

Daniel MJ, RJ Williamson (2020)

Males optimally balance selfish and kin-selected strategies of sexual competition in the guppy.

Nature ecology & evolution, 4(5):745-752.

Resolving the strategies by which organisms compete for limited resources is key to understanding behavioural and social evolution. When competing for matings, males in many species allocate mating effort preferentially towards higher-quality females. How males balance this against avoiding competition with rival males, who should also prefer high-quality females, is poorly understood. Kin selection theory further complicates these dynamics: males should avoid competition with close relatives especially because of added, indirect fitness costs. However, whether between-male relatedness modulates the intensity of intrasexual competition is equivocal. Here, we develop and test an analytical model describing how males should optimally allocate their mating efforts in response to information about differences in female quality, competitor presence/absence and competitor relatedness. Using freely interacting groups of Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata), we show concordance between observed and predicted mating effort allocation across all combinations of these factors. Thus, male mating effort is sensitive to variation in female quality, competitor presence and competitor relatedness, which is consistent with a kin-selected strategy of male-male competition. The fit of our model's predictions demonstrates that males integrate assessments of female quality and competitive context in a quantitatively meaningful way, implicating a competitive strategy that has been fine-tuned to maximize inclusive fitness gains.

RevDate: 2020-07-27
CmpDate: 2020-07-27

Faria GS, A Gardner (2020)

Does kin discrimination promote cooperation?.

Biology letters, 16(3):20190742.

Genetic relatedness is a key driver of the evolution of cooperation. One mechanism that may ensure social partners are genetically related is kin discrimination, in which individuals are able to distinguish kin from non-kin and adjust their behaviour accordingly. However, the impact of kin discrimination upon the overall level of cooperation remains obscure. Specifically, while kin discrimination allows an individual to help more-related social partners over less-related social partners, it is unclear whether and how the population average level of cooperation that is evolutionarily favoured should differ under kin discrimination versus indiscriminate social behaviour. Here, we perform a general mathematical analysis in order to assess whether, when and in which direction kin discrimination changes the average level of cooperation in an evolving population. We find that kin discrimination may increase, decrease or leave unchanged the average level of cooperation, depending upon whether the optimal level of cooperation is a convex, concave or linear function of genetic relatedness. We develop an extension of the classic 'tragedy of the commons' model of cooperation in order to provide an illustration of these results. Our analysis provides a method to guide future research on the evolutionary consequences of kin discrimination.

RevDate: 2020-07-27
CmpDate: 2020-07-27

Kennedy P, AN Radford (2020)

Sibling quality and the haplodiploidy hypothesis.

Biology letters, 16(3):20190764.

The 'haplodiploidy hypothesis' argues that haplodiploid inheritance in bees, wasps, and ants generates relatedness asymmetries that promote the evolution of altruism by females, who are less related to their offspring than to their sisters ('supersister' relatedness). However, a consensus holds that relatedness asymmetry can only drive the evolution of eusociality if workers can direct their help preferentially to sisters over brothers, either through sex-ratio biases or a pre-existing ability to discriminate sexes among the brood. We show via a kin selection model that a simple feature of insect biology can promote the origin of workers in haplodiploids without requiring either condition. In insects in which females must found and provision new nests, body quality may have a stronger influence on female fitness than on male fitness. If altruism boosts the quality of all larval siblings, sisters may, therefore, benefit more than brothers from receiving the same amount of help. Accordingly, the benefits of altruism would fall disproportionately on supersisters in haplodiploids. Haplodiploid females should be more prone to altruism than diplodiploid females or males of either ploidy when altruism elevates female fitness especially, and even when altruists are blind to sibling sex.

RevDate: 2020-10-28
CmpDate: 2020-10-28

Tanskanen AO, Danielsbacka M, A Rotkirch (2020)

Grandparental Childcare for Biological, Adopted, and Step-Offspring: Findings From Cross-National Surveys.

Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 18(1):1474704920907894.

Based on kin selection theory, amounts of grandparental investment should reflect the probability to share common genes with offspring. Adoption may represent a special case, however, yet grandparental investment in adopted children has previously been both theoretically misconstrued and little investigated. Here, we study for the first time how grandparental childcare provision is distributed between biological, adopted, and step-offspring. Using Generations and Gender Surveys (n = 15,168 adult child-grandmother and 12,193 adult child-grandfather dyads) and the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (n = 17,233 grandmother-adult child and 13,000 grandfather-adult child dyads), we find that grandparents were less likely to provide care to stepchildren than to adopted and biological children, but no difference between adopted and biological children. These findings were present in both data sets and for both grandmothers and grandfathers, after several potentially confounding factors were taken into account. The stepchild disadvantage is in line with kin selection theory. The congruent amounts of care provided to adopted and biological children may reflect similar levels of adult-child attachment, selection effects, and greater need in adoptive families, as well as some degree of genetical relatedness in the case of kin adoption. The study provides new evidence of biased kin investments in contemporary societies and stresses the importance of psychological motivation and attachment in evolutionary studies of kin investment.

RevDate: 2020-04-25
CmpDate: 2020-04-21

Ruf T, C Bieber (2020)

Use of social thermoregulation fluctuates with mast seeding and reproduction in a pulsed resource consumer.

Oecologia, 192(4):919-928.

Edible dormice (Glis glis) can remain entirely solitary but frequently share sleeping sites with conspecifics in groups of up to 16 adults and yearlings. Here, we analysed grouping behaviour of 4564 marked individuals, captured in a 13-year study in nest boxes in a deciduous forest. We aimed to clarify (i) whether social thermoregulation is the primary cause for group formation and (ii) which factors affect group size and composition. Dormice temporarily formed both mixed and single-sex groups in response to acute cold ambient temperatures, especially those individuals with small body mass. Thus, thermoregulatory huddling appears to be the driving force for group formation in this species. Huddling was avoided-except for conditions of severe cold load-in years of full mast seeding, which is associated with reproduction and high foraging activity. Almost all females remained solitary during reproduction and lactation. Hence, entire populations of dormice switched between predominantly solitary lives in reproductive years to social behaviour in non-reproductive years. Non-social behaviour pointed to costs of huddling in terms of competition for local food resources even when food is generally abundant. The impact of competition was mitigated by a sex ratio that was biased towards males, which avoids sharing of food resources with related females that have extremely high energy demands during lactation. Importantly, dormice preferentially huddled in male-biased groups with litter mates from previous years. The fraction of related individuals increased with group size. Hence, group composition partly offsets the costs of shared food resources via indirect fitness benefits.

RevDate: 2020-07-08

Van Cleve J (2020)

Building a synthetic basis for kin selection and evolutionary game theory using population genetics.

Theoretical population biology, 133:65-70.

RevDate: 2020-06-29

Lehtonen J (2020)

The Price equation and the unity of social evolution theory.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 375(1797):20190362.

The Price equation has been entangled with social evolution theory from the start. It has been used to derive the most general versions of kin selection theory, and Price himself produced a multilevel equation that provides an alternative formulation of social evolution theory, dividing selection into components between and within groups. In this sense, the Price equation forms a basis for both kin and group selection, so often pitted against each other in the literature. Contextual analysis and the neighbour approach are prominent alternatives for analysing group selection. I discuss these four approaches to social evolution theory and their connections to the Price equation, focusing on their similarities and common mathematical structure. Despite different notations and modelling traditions, all four approaches are ultimately linked by a common set of mathematical components, revealing their underlying unity in a transparent way. The Price equation can similarly be used in the derivation of streamlined, weak selection social evolution modelling methods. These weak selection models are practical and powerful methods for constructing models in evolutionary and behavioural ecology; they can clarify the causal structure of models, and can be easily converted between the four social evolution approaches just like their regression counterparts. This article is part of the theme issue 'Fifty years of the Price equation'.

RevDate: 2020-09-02
CmpDate: 2020-07-06

Criscione CD, van Paridon BJ, Gilleard JS, et al (2020)

Clonemate cotransmission supports a role for kin selection in a puppeteer parasite.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(11):5970-5976.

Host manipulation by parasites is a fascinating evolutionary outcome, but adaptive scenarios that often accompany even iconic examples in this popular field of study are speculative. Kin selection has been invoked as a means of explaining the evolution of an altruistic-based, host-manipulating behavior caused by larvae of the lancet fluke Dicrocoelium dendriticum in ants. Specifically, cotransmission of larval clonemates from a snail first host to an ant second host is presumed to lead to a puppeteer parasite in the ant's brain that has clonemates in the ant abdomen. Clonal relatedness between the actor (brain fluke) and recipients (abdomen flukes) enables kin selection of the parasite's host-manipulating trait, which facilitates transmission of the recipients to the final host. However, the hypothesis that asexual reproduction in the snail leads to a high abundance of clonemates in the same ant is untested. Clonal relationships between the manipulator in the brain and the nonmanipulators in the abdomen are also untested. We provide empirical data on the lancet fluke's clonal diversity within its ant host. In stark contrast to other trematodes, which do not exhibit the same host-manipulating behavioral trait, the lancet fluke has a high abundance of clonemates. Moreover, our data support existing theory that indicates that the altruistic behavior can evolve even in the presence of multiple clones within the same ant host. Importantly, our analyses conclusively show clonemate cotransmission into ants, and, as such, we find support for kin selection to drive the evolution and maintenance of this iconic host manipulation.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Kaundal S, Deep A, Kaur G, et al (2020)

Molecular and Biochemical Characterization of YeeF/YezG, a Polymorphic Toxin-Immunity Protein Pair From Bacillus subtilis.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:95.

Polymorphic toxins are important and widespread elements of bacterial warfare that help in restricting the growth of competitors, aiding kin selection, and shaping the bacterial communities. Although widespread, polymorphic toxin systems (PTS) have been extensively studied in Gram-negative bacteria, there are limited studies describing PTS in Gram-positive bacteria. The present study characterizes YeeF/YezG, a predicted member of a PF04740 family of the polymorphic toxin-immunity system from a Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis. The expression of the C-terminal toxic domain of YeeF (YeeF-CT) causes growth inhibition and gross morphological changes in Escherichia coli. The observed toxic effects are neutralized by the co-expression of yezG, a gene present downstream of yeeF, confirming YeeF-CT/YezG as a toxin/immunity protein pair. Biochemical and in vivo studies reveal that YeeF-CT causes toxicity due to its non-specific metal-dependent DNase activity. This is different from the previously reported RNase activity from the three B. subtilis toxins belonging to PF04740 family. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) data analysis suggests that YeeF-CT binds YezG with a dissociation constant in the nanomolar range. Analytical ultracentrifugation studies revealed that YeeF-CT forms a homodimer and binds with two molecules of monomeric YezG immunity protein to form a 2:2 stochiometric heterotetrameric complex. Biolayer interferometry and electrophoretic mobility shift assays show that YeeF-CT/YezG/DNA forms a stable ternary complex implicating that YezG is an exosite inhibitor of YeeF-CT. This study extends the molecular targets of the toxins in the PF04740 family and thus, this family of toxins can be broadly classified as nucleases harboring either DNases or RNases activities.

RevDate: 2020-06-09

Stockmaier S, Bolnick DI, Page RA, et al (2020)

Sickness effects on social interactions depend on the type of behaviour and relationship.

The Journal of animal ecology, 89(6):1387-1394.

Infections can change social behaviour in multiple ways, with profound impacts on pathogen transmission. However, these impacts might depend on the type of behaviour, how sociality as a biological trait is defined (e.g. network degree vs. mean edge strength) and the type of social relationship between the interacting individuals. We used the highly social common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus to test how an immune challenge by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injections affects two different social behaviours and three alternate measures of sociality, and whether the LPS effect differs by kinship relationship. Effects of sickness should be lower for social behaviours that bestow greater benefits to inclusive fitness, such as food sharing. As predicted, immune-challenged bats experienced a greater reduction in allogrooming received than food sharing received. Sickness effects might also depend on how a social interaction is defined (e.g. the number of grooming partners vs. the duration of grooming events). We predicted that sickness would impact both the number and duration of social encounters, but we only detected a decrease in the number of grooming partners. Finally, sickness effects might vary with social relationship type. We predicted that sickness effects should be smaller for interactions among close kin. As expected, the immune challenge had smaller effects on mother-offspring interactions. In conclusion, our results highlight the need to explicitly consider how the effects of sickness on social network structure can differ depending on the 'who, what, and how' of social interactions, because these factors are likely to influence how sickness behaviour alters pathogen transmission.

RevDate: 2020-11-20
CmpDate: 2020-11-20

Lobmaier JS, Probst F, Fischbacher U, et al (2020)

Pleasant body odours, but not genetic similarity, influence trustworthiness in a modified trust game.

Scientific reports, 10(1):3388.

Identifying trustworthy partners is an important adaptive challenge for establishing mutually cooperative relationships. Previous studies have demonstrated a marked relationship between a person's attractiveness and his apparent trustworthiness (beauty premium). Kin selection theory, however, suggests that cues to kinship enhance trustworthiness. Here we directly tested predictions of the beauty premium and kin selection theory by using body odours as cues to trustworthiness. Body odours reportedly portray information about an individuals' genotype at the human leucocyte antigen system (HLA) and thus olfactory cues in body odours serve as a promising means for kin recognition. Ninety men played trust games in which they divided uneven sums of monetary units between two male trustees represented by their body odour and rated each body odour for pleasantness. Half of the odours came from HLA-similar men (suggesting closer kin) and half from HLA dissimilar men (suggesting non-kin). We found that the amount of money the players transferred was not related to HLA-similarity, but to the pleasantness of the trustee's body odour. By showing that people with more pleasant body odours are trusted more than people with unpleasant body odour we provide evidence for a "beauty-premium" that overrides any putative effect of kin.

RevDate: 2020-07-27
CmpDate: 2020-07-27

Poirotte C, MJE Charpentier (2020)

Unconditional care from close maternal kin in the face of parasites.

Biology letters, 16(2):20190869.

Several species mitigate relationships according to their conspecifics' parasite status. Yet, this defence strategy comes with the costs of depriving individuals from valuable social bonds. Animals therefore face a trade-off between the costs of pathogen exposure and the benefits of social relationships. According to the models of social evolution, social bonds are highly kin-biased. However, whether kinship mitigates social avoidance of contagious individuals has never been tested so far. Here, we build on previous research to demonstrate that mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) modulate social avoidance of contagious individuals according to kinship: individuals do not avoid grooming their close maternal kin when contagious (parasitized with oro-faecally transmitted protozoa), although they do for more distant or non-kin. While individuals' parasite status has seldom been considered as a trait impacting social relationships in animals, this study goes a step beyond by showing that kinship balances the effect of health status on social behaviour in a non-human primate.

RevDate: 2020-06-05
CmpDate: 2020-06-05

Kappeler PM, L Pozzi (2019)

Evolutionary transitions toward pair living in nonhuman primates as stepping stones toward more complex societies.

Science advances, 5(12):eaay1276.

Nonhuman primate societies vary tremendously in size and composition, but how and why evolutionary transitions among different states occurred remains highly controversial. In particular, how many times pair living evolved and the social states of the ancestors of pair- and group-living species remains contentious. We examined evolutionary transitions in primate social evolution by using new, independent categorizations of sociality and different phylogenetic hypotheses with a vastly expanded dataset. Using Bayesian phylogenetic comparative methods, we consistently found the strongest support for a model that invokes frequent transitions between solitary ancestors and pair-living descendants, with the latter giving rise to group-living species. This result was robust to systematic variation in social classification, sample size, and phylogeny. Our analyses therefore indicate that pair living was a stepping stone in the evolution of structurally more complex primate societies, a result that bolsters the role of kin selection in social evolution.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Patel M, West SA, JM Biernaskie (2020)

Kin discrimination, negative relatedness, and how to distinguish between selfishness and spite.

Evolution letters, 4(1):65-72.

Spiteful behaviors occur when an actor harms its own fitness to inflict harm on the fitness of others. Several papers have predicted that spite can be favored in sufficiently small populations, even when the harming behavior is directed indiscriminately at others. However, it is not clear that truly spiteful behavior could be favored without the harm being directed at a subset of social partners with relatively low genetic similarity to the actor (kin discrimination, causing a negative relatedness between actor and harmed recipient). Using mathematical models, we show that (1) the evolution of spite requires kin discrimination; (2) previous models suggesting indiscriminate spite involve scenarios where the actor gains a direct feedback benefit from harming others, and so the harming is selfish rather than spiteful; (3) extreme selfishness can be favored in small populations (or, more generally, under local competition) because this is where the direct feedback benefit of harming is greatest.

RevDate: 2020-06-17
CmpDate: 2020-06-17

Montazeaud G, Rousset F, Fort F, et al (2020)

Farming plant cooperation in crops.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1919):20191290.

Selection of the fittest can promote individual competitiveness but often results in the erosion of group performance. Recently, several authors revisited this idea in crop production and proposed new practices based on selection for cooperative phenotypes, i.e. phenotypes that increase crop yield through decreased competitiveness. These recommendations, however, remain difficult to evaluate without a formal description of crop evolutionary dynamics under different selection strategies. Here, we develop a theoretical framework to investigate the evolution of cooperation-related traits in crops, using plant height as a case study. Our model is tailored to realistic agricultural practices and shows that combining high plant density, high relatedness and selection among groups favours the evolution of shorter plants that maximize grain yield. Our model allows us to revisit past and current breeding practices in light of kin selection theory, and yields practical recommendations to increase cooperation among crops and promote sustainable agriculture.

RevDate: 2020-04-20
CmpDate: 2020-04-20

Komatsu H, Kubota H, Tanaka N, et al (2020)

Designing information provision to serve as a reminder of altruistic benefits: A case study of the risks of air pollution caused by industrialization.

PloS one, 15(1):e0227024.

A well-known phenomenon is that humans perceive risks to threaten future generations as more dangerous in many cases. However, this tendency could be changed depending on certain conditions and could potentially be explained by the evolution of altruism. Our multi-agent simulation model, which was constructed to identify attributes contributing to subjective assessment of a risk source based on kin selection theory, showed that support from relatives can affect the agents' subjective risk assessment. We utilize this insight, which has never been explored in the context of nudge, to show that real-world messages reminding respondents that they are supported by their relatives can moderate the perception of a risk source as extremely dangerous. A randomized control trial based on an internet questionnaire survey was conducted to identify the intervention effect of such messages, using air pollution caused by industrialization as the risk source for the case study. Our analysis suggests that messages moderate extreme attitudes. Presentation of additional visual information can boost the sense of familial support and increase the effect of a message compared with a message comprising only textual information. The attributes and personality traits of the respondents who are responsive to the intervention message are also discussed.

RevDate: 2020-11-30
CmpDate: 2020-11-30

Brucks D, AMP von Bayern (2020)

Parrots Voluntarily Help Each Other to Obtain Food Rewards.

Current biology : CB, 30(2):292-297.e5.

Helping others to obtain benefits, even at a cost to oneself, poses an evolutionary puzzle [1]. While kin selection explains such "selfless" acts among relatives, only reciprocity (paying back received favors) entails fitness benefits for unrelated individuals [2]. So far, experimental evidence for both prosocial helping (providing voluntary assistance for achieving an action-based goal) and reciprocity has been reported in a few mammals but no avian species [3]. In order to gain insights into the evolutionary origins of these behaviors, the capacity of non-mammalian species for prosociality and for reciprocity needs to be investigated. We tested two parrot species in an instrumental-helping paradigm involving "token transfer." Here, actors could provide tokens to their neighbor, who could exchange them with an experimenter for food. To verify whether the parrots understood the task's contingencies, we systematically varied the presence of a partner and the possibility for exchange. We found that African grey parrots voluntarily and spontaneously transferred tokens to conspecific partners, whereas significantly fewer transfers occurred in the control conditions. Transfers were affected by the strength of the dyads' affiliation and partially by the receivers' attention-getting behaviors. Furthermore, the birds reciprocated the help once the roles were reversed. Blue-headed macaws, in contrast, transferred hardly any tokens. Species differences in social tolerance might explain this discrepancy. These findings show that instrumental helping based on a prosocial attitude, accompanied but potentially not sustained by reciprocity, is present in parrots, suggesting that this capacity evolved convergently in this avian group and mammals.

RevDate: 2020-09-21
CmpDate: 2020-09-21

Chaves ÓM, Martins V, Camaratta D, et al (2020)

Successful adoption of an orphan infant in a wild group of brown howler monkeys.

Primates; journal of primatology, 61(2):301-307.

The rarity of infant adoption in wild primates compromises our understanding of its consequences for the participating individuals. We report the first case of successful infant adoption in a wild group of brown howler monkeys (Alouatta guariba clamitans). We evaluated the potential costs of the behavior for the adoptive mother by comparing her activity budget and diet before and after the adoption. On 18 June 2013, a domestic dog killed the mother of a 2-month-old male infant (Victorio) as she attempted to cross a canopy gap. Victorio was immediately rescued from her belly by a researcher and released in a climber near another infant-carrying female (Sofia, his likely grandmother). Sofia recovered him 2 min later. She carried and breastfed both infants during the next 4 weeks, when her own infant disappeared. We monitored Victorio until he reached adulthood in March 2018. Sofia fed more (mainly on immature leaves) when she nursed only Victorio than when nursing only her own or both infants. Assuming that the disappearance of Sofia's own infant was unrelated to the adoption of Victorio, we conclude that his successful adoption may contribute to Sofia's inclusive fitness if he sires his own infants.

RevDate: 2020-02-10
CmpDate: 2020-02-10

Martinig AR, McAdam AG, Dantzer B, et al (2020)

The new kid on the block: immigrant males win big whereas females pay fitness cost after dispersal.

Ecology letters, 23(3):430-438.

Dispersal is nearly universal; yet, which sex tends to disperse more and their success thereafter depends on the fitness consequences of dispersal. We asked if lifetime fitness differed between residents and immigrants (successful between-population dispersers) and their offspring using 29 years of monitoring from North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in Canada. Compared to residents, immigrant females had 23% lower lifetime breeding success (LBS), while immigrant males had 29% higher LBS. Male immigration and female residency were favoured. Offspring born to immigrants had 15-43% lower LBS than offspring born to residents. We conclude that immigration benefitted males, but not females, which appeared to be making the best of a bad lot. Our results are in line with male-biased dispersal being driven by local mate competition and local resource enhancement, while the intergenerational cost to immigration is a new complication in explaining the drivers of sex-biased dispersal.

RevDate: 2020-04-16

Nattrass S, Croft DP, Ellis S, et al (2019)

Postreproductive killer whale grandmothers improve the survival of their grandoffspring.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [Epub ahead of print].

Understanding why females of some mammalian species cease ovulation prior to the end of life is a long-standing interdisciplinary and evolutionary challenge. In humans and some species of toothed whales, females can live for decades after stopping reproduction. This unusual life history trait is thought to have evolved, in part, due to the inclusive fitness benefits that postreproductive females gain by helping kin. In humans, grandmothers gain inclusive fitness benefits by increasing their number of surviving grandoffspring, referred to as the grandmother effect. Among toothed whales, the grandmother effect has not been rigorously tested. Here, we test for the grandmother effect in killer whales, by quantifying grandoffspring survival with living or recently deceased reproductive and postreproductive grandmothers, and show that postreproductive grandmothers provide significant survival benefits to their grandoffspring above that provided by reproductive grandmothers. This provides evidence of the grandmother effect in a nonhuman menopausal species. By stopping reproduction, grandmothers avoid reproductive conflict with their daughters, and offer increased benefits to their grandoffspring. The benefits postreproductive grandmothers provide to their grandoffspring are shown to be most important in difficult times where the salmon abundance is low to moderate. The postreproductive grandmother effect we report, together with the known costs of late-life reproduction in killer whales, can help explain the long postreproductive life spans of resident killer whales.

RevDate: 2020-03-20
CmpDate: 2020-03-20

Thomas F, Giraudeau M, Renaud F, et al (2019)

Can postfertile life stages evolve as an anticancer mechanism?.

PLoS biology, 17(12):e3000565.

Why a postfertile stage has evolved in females of some species has puzzled evolutionary biologists for over 50 years. We propose that existing adaptive explanations have underestimated in their formulation an important parameter operating both at the specific and the individual levels: the balance between cancer risks and cancer defenses. During their life, most multicellular organisms naturally accumulate oncogenic processes in their body. In parallel, reproduction, notably the pregnancy process in mammals, exacerbates the progression of existing tumors in females. When, for various ecological or evolutionary reasons, anticancer defenses are too weak, given cancer risk, older females could not pursue their reproduction without triggering fatal metastatic cancers, nor even maintain a normal reproductive physiology if the latter also promotes the growth of existing oncogenic processes, e.g., hormone-dependent malignancies. At least until stronger anticancer defenses are selected for in these species, females could achieve higher inclusive fitness by ceasing their reproduction and/or going through menopause (assuming that these traits are easier to select than anticancer defenses), thereby limiting the risk of premature death due to metastatic cancers. Because relatively few species experience such an evolutionary mismatch between anticancer defenses and cancer risks, the evolution of prolonged life after reproduction could also be a rare, potentially transient, anticancer adaptation in the animal kingdom.

RevDate: 2020-06-09
CmpDate: 2020-06-09

Gow EA, Arcese P, Dagenais D, et al (2019)

Testing predictions of inclusive fitness theory in inbreeding relatives with biparental care.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1916):20191933.

Inclusive fitness theory predicts that parental care will vary with relatedness between potentially caring parents and offspring, potentially shaping mating system evolution. Systems with extra-pair paternity (EPP), and hence variable parent-brood relatedness, provide valuable opportunities to test this prediction. However, existing theoretical and empirical studies assume that a focal male is either an offspring's father with no inbreeding, or is completely unrelated. We highlight that this simple dichotomy does not hold given reproductive interactions among relatives, complicating the effect of EPP on parent-brood relatedness yet providing new opportunities to test inclusive fitness theory. Accordingly, we tested hierarchical hypotheses relating parental feeding rate to parent-brood relatedness, parent kinship and inbreeding, using song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) experiencing natural variation in relatedness. As predicted, male and female feeding rates increased with relatedness to a dependent brood, even controlling for brood size. Male feeding rate tended to decrease as paternity loss increased, and increased with increasing kinship and hence inbreeding between socially paired mates. We thereby demonstrate that variation in a key component of parental care concurs with subtle predictions from inclusive fitness theory. We additionally highlight that such effects can depend on the underlying social mating system, potentially generating status-specific costs of extra-pair reproduction.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
961 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin (and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg).


ESP now offers a much improved and expanded collection of timelines, designed to give the user choice over subject matter and dates.


Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are now being automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )