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Bibliography on: Kin Selection

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 13 Jul 2019 at 01:43 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: 2019-07-10

Ross L, Davies NG, A Gardner (2019)

How to make a haploid male.

Evolution letters, 3(2):173-184 pii:EVL3107.

Haplodiploidy has evolved repeatedly among invertebrates, and appears to be associated with inbreeding. Evolutionary biologists have long debated the possible benefits for females in diplodiploid species to produce haploid sons-beginning their population's transition to haplodiploidy-and whether inbreeding promotes or inhibits this transition. However, little attention has been given to what makes a haploid individual male rather than female, and whether the mechanism of sex determination may modulate the costs and benefits of male haploidy. We remedy this by performing a theoretical analysis of the origin and invasion of male haploidy across the full range of sex-determination mechanisms and sib-mating rates. We find that male haploidy is facilitated by three different mechanisms of sex determination-all involving male heterogamety-and impeded by the others. We also find that inbreeding does not pose an obvious evolutionary barrier, on account of a previously neglected sex-ratio effect whereby the production of haploid sons leads to an abundance of granddaughters that is advantageous in the context of inbreeding. We find empirical support for these predictions in a survey of sex determination and inbreeding across haplodiploids and their sister taxa.

RevDate: 2019-07-05

Ng YL (2019)

Active and Passive Facebook Use and Associated Costly Off-line Helping Behavior.

Psychological reports [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2019-07-04

Leeks A, Santos MD, SA West (2019)

Transmission, relatedness, and the evolution of cooperative symbionts.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Cooperative interactions between species, termed mutualisms, play a key role in shaping natural ecosystems, economically-important agricultural systems, and in influencing human health. Across different mutualisms there is significant variation in the benefit that hosts receive from their symbionts. Empirical data suggests that transmission mode can help explain this variation: vertical transmission, where symbionts infect their host's offspring, leads to symbionts that provide greater benefits to their hosts than horizontal transmission, where symbionts leave their host and infect other hosts in the population. However, two different theoretical explanations have been given for this pattern: firstly, vertical transmission aligns the fitness interests of hosts and their symbionts; secondly, vertical transmission leads to increased relatedness between symbionts sharing a host, favouring cooperation between symbionts. We used a combination of analytical models and dynamic simulations to tease these factors apart, in order to compare their separate influences and see how they interact. We found that relatedness between symbionts sharing a host, rather than transmission mode per se, was the most important factor driving symbiont cooperation. Transmission mode mattered mainly because it determined relatedness. We also found evolutionary branching throughout much of our simulation, suggesting that a combination of transmission mode and multiplicity of infections could lead to the stable coexistence of different symbiont strategies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-27

Bourke AF (2019)

Inclusive fitness and the major transitions in evolution.

Current opinion in insect science, 34:61-67 pii:S2214-5745(18)30114-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Inclusive fitness theory is the leading framework for explaining the major transitions in evolution, whereby free-living subunits (e.g. cells, organisms) have cooperated to form new, higher-level units (e.g. organisms, eusocial societies). The theory has attracted considerable controversy. From a brief survey of the controversy's present status, I conclude that inclusive fitness theory continues to provide both a concept and a principled modelling tool of value for understanding social evolution, including major transitions. Turning to new developments in the study of major transitions, I describe work defining the point of occurrence of major transitions and, from inclusive fitness theory, the required conditions. I also suggest that it remains important to understand the evolution of individuality that occurs beyond such thresholds.

RevDate: 2019-06-12

Fromhage L, MD Jennions (2019)

The strategic reference gene: an organismal theory of inclusive fitness.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1904):20190459.

How to define and use the concept of inclusive fitness is a contentious topic in evolutionary theory. Inclusive fitness can be used to calculate selection on a focal gene, but it is also applied to whole organisms. Individuals are then predicted to appear designed as if to maximize their inclusive fitness, provided that certain conditions are met (formally when interactions between individuals are 'additive'). Here we argue that applying the concept of inclusive fitness to organisms is justified under far broader conditions than previously shown, but only if it is appropriately defined. Specifically, we propose that organisms should maximize the sum of their offspring (including any accrued due to the behaviour/phenotype of relatives), plus any effects on their relatives' offspring production, weighted by relatedness. By contrast, most theoreticians have argued that a focal individual's inclusive fitness should exclude any offspring accrued due to the behaviour of relatives. Our approach is based on the notion that long-term evolution follows the genome's 'majority interest' of building coherent bodies that are efficient 'vehicles' for gene propagation. A gene favoured by selection that reduces the propagation of unlinked genes at other loci (e.g. meiotic segregation distorters that lower sperm production) is eventually neutralized by counter-selection throughout the rest of the genome. Most phenotypes will therefore appear as if designed to maximize the propagation of any given gene in a focal individual and its relatives.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Rautiala P, Helanterä H, M Puurtinen (2019)

Extended haplodiploidy hypothesis.

Evolution letters, 3(3):263-270 pii:EVL3119.

Evolution of altruistic behavior was a hurdle for the logic of Darwinian evolution. Soon after Hamilton formalized the concept of inclusive fitness, which explains how altruism can evolve, he suggested that the high sororal relatedness brought by haplodiploidy could be why Hymenopterans have a high prevalence in eusocial species, and why helpers in Hymenoptera are always female. Later it was noted that in order to capitalize on the high sororal relatedness, helpers would need to direct help toward sisters, and this would bias the population sex ratio. Under a 1:3 males:females sex ratio, the inclusive fitness valuation a female places on her sister, brother, and an own offspring are equal-apparently removing the benefit of helping over independent reproduction. Based on this argumentation, haplodiploidy hypothesis has been considered a red herring. However, here we show that when population sex ratio, cost of altruism, and population growth rate are considered together, haplodiploidy does promote female helping even with female-biased sex ratio, due the lowered cost of altruism in such populations. Our analysis highlights the need to re-evaluate the role of haplodiploidy in the evolution of helping, and the importance of fully exploring the model assumptions when comparing interactions of population sex ratios and social behaviors.

RevDate: 2019-06-05

Lenárt P, Zlámal F, Kukla L, et al (2019)

Sibling relatedness rather than father absence predicts earlier age at menarche in ELSPAC cohort.

Biology letters, 15(6):20190091.

Many studies during the past 50 years have found an association between father absence and earlier menarche. In connection with these findings, several evolutionary theories assume that father absence is a causal factor accelerating reproductive development. However, a recent study analysing data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) found that father absence does not predict age at menarche when adjusted for sibling relatedness. In this study, we have replicated these results in the Czech section of the European Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ELSPAC), which used the same questionnaires as ALSPAC to study a geographically distinct population. Our results support the conclusion that sibling relatedness rather than father absence predicts age at menarche. Furthermore, our results show that age at menarche in 1990s UK and Czech cohorts is very similar despite socioeconomic differences between the two countries.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Ostrowski EA (2019)

Enforcing Cooperation in the Social Amoebae.

Current biology : CB, 29(11):R474-R484.

Cooperation has been essential to the evolution of biological complexity, but many societies struggle to overcome internal conflicts and divisions. Dictyostelium discoideum, or the social amoeba, has been a useful model system for exploring these conflicts and how they can be resolved. When starved, these cells communicate, gather into groups, and build themselves into a multicellular fruiting body. Some cells altruistically die to form the rigid stalk, while the remainder sit atop the stalk, become spores, and disperse. Evolutionary theory predicts that conflict will arise over which cells die to form the stalk and which cells become spores and survive. The power of the social amoeba lies in the ability to explore how cooperation and conflict work across multiple levels, ranging from proximate mechanisms (how does it work?) to ultimate evolutionary answers (why does it work?). Recent studies point to solutions to the problem of ensuring fairness, such as the ability to suppress selfishness and to recognize and avoid unrelated individuals. This work confirms a central role for kin selection, but also suggests new explanations for how social amoebae might enforce cooperation. New approaches based on genomics are also enabling researchers to decipher for the first time the evolutionary history of cooperation and conflict and to determine its role in shaping the biology of multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Apicella CL, JB Silk (2019)

The evolution of human cooperation.

Current biology : CB, 29(11):R447-R450.

Darwin viewed cooperation as a perplexing challenge to his theory of natural selection. Natural selection generally favors the evolution of behaviors that enhance the fitness of individuals. Cooperative behavior, which increases the fitness of a recipient at the expense of the donor, contradicts this logic. William D. Hamilton helped to solve the puzzle when he showed that cooperation can evolve if cooperators direct benefits selectively to other cooperators (i.e. assortment). Kinship, group selection and the previous behavior of social partners all provide mechanisms for assortment (Figure 1), and kin selection and reciprocal altruism are the foundation of the kinds of cooperative behavior observed in many animals. Humans also bias cooperation in favor of kin and reciprocating partners, but the scope, scale, and variability of human cooperation greatly exceed that of other animals. Here, we introduce derived features of human cooperation in the context in which they originally evolved, and discuss the processes that may have shaped the evolution of our remarkable capacity for cooperation. We argue that culturally-evolved norms that specify how people should behave provide an evolutionarily novel mechanism for assortment, and play an important role in sustaining derived properties of cooperation in human groups.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Kay T, Lehmann L, L Keller (2019)

Kin selection and altruism.

Current biology : CB, 29(11):R438-R442.

Natural selection is predicated on the 'struggle for existence': life is short, cruel and, whether through predation, disease or starvation, often ends traumatically. It would seem that in such a dog-eat-dog world, organisms ought to act selfishly, and avoid reducing their fitness (expected survival and reproductive success) by expending time and energy helping others. Put another way, alleles that increase the probability of altruism - a behavior whose expression increases the fitness of recipients while decreasing that of the actor - should decrease in frequency across generations and ultimately disappear.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Birch J (2019)

Are kin and group selection rivals or friends?.

Current biology : CB, 29(11):R433-R438.

Kin selection and group selection were once seen as competing explanatory hypotheses but now tend to be seen as equivalent ways of describing the same basic idea. Yet this 'equivalence thesis' seems not to have brought proponents of kin selection and group selection any closer together. This may be because the equivalence thesis merely shows the equivalence of two statistical formalisms without saying anything about causality. W.D. Hamilton was the first to derive an equivalence result of this type. Yet Hamilton was aware of its limitations, and saw that, while illuminating, it papered over some biologically important distinctions. Attending to these distinctions leads to the concept of 'K-G space', which helps us see where the biological disagreements between proponents of kin selection and group selection really lie.

RevDate: 2019-05-29

Southon RJ, Bell EF, Graystock P, et al (2019)

High indirect fitness benefits for helpers across the nesting cycle in the tropical paper wasp Polistes canadensis.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Explaining the evolution of helping behaviour in the eusocial insects where non-reproductive ('worker') individuals help raise the offspring of other individuals ('queens'), remains one of the most perplexing phenomena in the natural world. Polistes paper wasps are popular study models, as workers retain the ability to reproduce: such totipotency is likely representative of the early stages of social evolution. Polistes is thought to have originated in the tropics, where seasonal constraints on reproductive options are weak and social groups are effectively perennial. Yet, most Polistes research has focused on non-tropical species, where seasonality causes family groups to disperse; cofoundresses forming new colonies the following spring are often unrelated, leading to the suggestion that direct fitness through nest inheritance is key in the evolution of helping behaviour. Here we present the first comprehensive genetic study of social structure across the perennial nesting cycle of a tropical Polistes - Polistes canadensis. Using both microsatellites and newly-developed single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers we show that adult cofoundresses are highly related, and that brood production is monopolised by a single female across the nesting cycle. Non-reproductive cofoundresses in tropical Polistes therefore have the potential to gain high indirect fitness benefits as helpers from the outset of group formation, and these benefits persist through the nesting cycle. Direct fitness may have been less important in the origin of Polistes sociality than previously suggested. These findings stress the importance of studying a range of species with diverse life-history and ecologies when considering the evolution of reproductive strategies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-05-27

Hitchcock TJ, Paracchini S, A Gardner (2019)

Genomic Imprinting As a Window into Human Language Evolution.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 41(6):e1800212.

Humans spend large portions of their time and energy talking to one another, yet it remains unclear whether this activity is primarily selfish or altruistic. Here, it is shown how parent-of-origin specific gene expression-or "genomic imprinting"-may provide an answer to this question. First, it is shown why, regarding language, only altruistic or selfish scenarios are expected. Second, it is pointed out that an individual's maternal-origin and paternal-origin genes may have different evolutionary interests regarding investment into language, and that this intragenomic conflict may drive genomic imprinting which-as the direction of imprint depends upon whether investment into language is relatively selfish or altruistic-may be used to discriminate between these two possibilities. Third, predictions concerning the impact of various mutations and epimutations at imprinted loci on language pathologies are derived. In doing so, a framework is developed that highlights avenues for using intragenomic conflicts to investigate the evolutionary drivers of language.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Shakhar K (2019)

The Inclusive Behavioral Immune System.

Frontiers in psychology, 10:1004.

Although living in social groups offers many advantages, it comes at a cost of increased transmissible disease. The behavioral immune system (BIS) is thought to have evolved as a first line of defense against such infections. It acts by minimizing the contact of yet uninfected hosts with potential pathogens. The BIS has been observed in a wide range of animals including insects, amphibians and mammals, but most research has focused on humans where the BIS is guided by complex cognitive and emotional processing. When researchers discuss the evolutionary origin of the BIS, they assess how it raises individual fitness. What would happen though if we shift our attention to the evolutionary unit of selection - the gene? Success would be measured as the change in the gene's prevalence in the entire population, and additional behaviors would come to our attention - those that benefit relatives, i.e., behaviors that raise inclusive fitness. One widely-recognized example of the inclusive BIS is social immunity, which is prevalent among eusocial organisms such as bees and ants. Their colonies engage in a collaborative protective behavior such as grooming and the removal of infected members from the nest. Another example may be sickness behavior, which includes the behavioral, cognitive and emotional symptoms that accompany infection, such as fatigue, and loss of appetite and social interest. My colleague and I recently suggested that sickness behavior has evolved because it reduces the direct and indirect contact between an infected host and its healthy kin - improving inclusive fitness. These additional behaviors are not carried out by the healthy individuals, but rather by whole communities in the first case, and by already infected individuals in the second. Since they step beyond the classical definition of BIS, it may be useful to broaden the term to the inclusive behavioral immune system.

RevDate: 2019-05-16

Duncan C, Gaynor D, Clutton-Brock T, et al (2019)

The Evolution of Indiscriminate Altruism in a Cooperatively Breeding Mammal.

The American naturalist, 193(6):841-851.

Kin selection theory suggests that altruistic behaviors can increase the fitness of altruists when recipients are genetic relatives. Although selection can favor the ability of organisms to preferentially cooperate with close kin, indiscriminately helping all group mates may yield comparable fitness returns if relatedness within groups is very high. Here, we show that meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are largely indiscriminate altruists who do not alter the amount of help provided to pups or group mates in response to their relatedness to them. We present a model showing that indiscriminate altruism may yield greater fitness payoffs than kin discrimination where most group members are close relatives and errors occur in the estimation of relatedness. The presence of errors in the estimation of relatedness provides a feasible explanation for associations between kin discriminative helping and group relatedness in eusocial and cooperatively breeding animals.

RevDate: 2019-05-16

Jänig S, Weiß BM, Birkemeyer C, et al (2019)

Comparative chemical analysis of body odor in great apes.

American journal of primatology [Epub ahead of print].

Olfaction is important across the animal kingdom for transferring information on, for example, species, sex, group membership, or reproductive parameters. Its relevance has been established in primates including humans, yet research on great apes still is fragmentary. Observational evidence indicates that great apes use their sense of smell in various contexts, but the information content of their body odor has not been analyzed. Our aim was therefore to compare the chemical composition of body odor in great ape species, namely Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii (Lesson, 1827), one adult male, five adult females, four nonadults), Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla (Savage, 1847), one adult male, two adult females, one nonadult), common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes (Blumenbach, 1775), four adult males, nine adult females, four nonadults), and bonobos (Pan paniscus (Schwarz, 1929), two adult males, four adult females, two nonadults). We collected 195 samples (five per individual) of 39 captive individuals using cotton swabs and analyzed them using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. We compared the sample richness and intensity, similarity of chemical composition, and relative abundance of compounds. Results show that species, age, and potentially sex have an impact on the variance between odor profiles. Richness and intensity varied significantly between species (gorillas having the highest, bonobos the lowest richness and intensity), and with age (both increasing with age). Richness and intensity did not vary between sexes. Odor samples of the same species were more similar to each other than samples of different species. Among all compounds identified some were associated with age (N = 7), sex (N = 6), and species-related (N = 37) variance. Our study contributes to the basic understanding of olfactory communication in hominids by showing that the chemical composition of body odor varies across species and individuals, containing potentially important information for social communication.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Geist KS, Strassmann JE, DC Queller (2019)

Family quarrels in seeds and rapid adaptive evolution in Arabidopsis.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(19):9463-9468.

Evolutionary conflict can drive rapid adaptive evolution, sometimes called an arms race, because each party needs to respond continually to the adaptations of the other. Evidence for such arms races can sometimes be seen in morphology, in behavior, or in the genes underlying sexual interactions of host-pathogen interactions, but is rarely predicted a priori. Kin selection theory predicts that conflicts of interest should usually be reduced but not eliminated among genetic relatives, but there is little evidence as to whether conflict within families can drive rapid adaptation. Here we test multiple predictions about how conflict over the amount of resources an offspring receives from its parent would drive rapid molecular evolution in seed tissues of the flowering plant Arabidopsis As predicted, there is more adaptive evolution in genes expressed in Arabidopsis seeds than in other specialized organs, more in endosperms and maternal tissues than in embryos, and more in the specific subtissues involved in nutrient transfer. In the absence of credible alternative hypotheses, these results suggest that kin selection and conflict are important in plants, that the conflict includes not just the mother and offspring but also the triploid endosperm, and that, despite the conflict-reducing role of kinship, family members can engage in slow but steady tortoise-like arms races.

RevDate: 2019-04-19

Sbarra DA, Briskin JL, RB Slatcher (2019)

Smartphones and Close Relationships: The Case for an Evolutionary Mismatch.

Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science [Epub ahead of print].

This article introduces and outlines the case for an evolutionary mismatch between smartphones and the social behaviors that help form and maintain close social relationships. As psychological adaptations that enhance human survival and inclusive fitness, self-disclosure and responsiveness evolved in the context of small kin networks to facilitate social bonds, promote trust, and enhance cooperation. These adaptations are central to the development of attachment bonds, and attachment theory is a middle-level evolutionary theory that provides a robust account of the ways human bonding provides for reproductive and inclusive fitness. Evolutionary mismatches operate when modern contexts cue ancestral adaptations in a manner that does not provide for their adaptive benefits. We argue that smartphones and their affordances, although highly beneficial in many circumstances, cue humans' evolved needs for self-disclosure and responsiveness across broad virtual networks and, in turn, have the potential to undermine immediate interpersonal interactions. We review emerging evidence on the topic of technoference, which is defined as the ways in which smartphone use may interfere with or intrude into everyday social interactions. The article concludes with an empirical agenda for advancing the integrative study of smartphones, intimacy processes, and close relationships.

RevDate: 2019-06-06

Levin SR, A Grafen (2019)

Inclusive fitness is an indispensable approximation for understanding organismal design.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 73(6):1066-1076.

For some decades most biologists interested in design have agreed that natural selection leads to organisms acting as if they are maximizing a quantity known as "inclusive fitness." This maximization principle has 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 adopt a resolution offered by Birch, who accepts the technical difficulties of establishing inclusive fitness maximization in a fully general model, while concluding that inclusive fitness is still useful as an organizing framework. We set out in more detail why inclusive fitness is such a practical and powerful framework, and provide verbal and conceptual arguments for why social biology would be more or less impossible without it. We aim to help mathematicians understand why social biologists are content to use inclusive fitness despite its theoretical weaknesses. Here, we also offer biologists practical advice for avoiding potential pitfalls.

RevDate: 2019-04-12

Cotter SC, Pincheira-Donoso D, R Thorogood (2019)

Defences against brood parasites from a social immunity perspective.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1769):20180207.

Parasitic interactions are so ubiquitous that all multicellular organisms have evolved a system of defences to reduce their costs, whether the parasites they encounter are the classic parasites which feed on the individual, or brood parasites which usurp parental care. Many parallels have been drawn between defences deployed against both types of parasite, but typically, while defences against classic parasites have been selected to protect survival, those against brood parasites have been selected to protect the parent's inclusive fitness, suggesting that the selection pressures they impose are fundamentally different. However, there is another class of defences against classic parasites that have specifically been selected to protect an individual's inclusive fitness, known as social immunity. Social immune responses include the anti-parasite defences typically provided for others in kin-structured groups, such as the antifungal secretions produced by termite workers to protect the brood. Defences against brood parasites, therefore, are more closely aligned with social immune responses. Much like social immunity, host defences against brood parasitism are employed by a donor (a parent) for the benefit of one or more recipients (typically kin), and as with social defences against classic parasites, defences have therefore evolved to protect the donor's inclusive fitness, not the survival or ultimately the fitness of individual recipients This can lead to severe conflicts between the different parties, whose interests are not always aligned. Here, we consider defences against brood parasitism in the light of social immunity, at different stages of parasite encounter, addressing where conflicts occur and how they might be resolved. We finish with considering how this approach could help us to address longstanding questions in our understanding of brood parasitism. This article is part of the theme issue 'The coevolutionary biology of brood parasitism: from mechanism to pattern'.

RevDate: 2019-04-12

Gloag R, M Beekman (2019)

The brood parasite's guide to inclusive fitness theory.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1769):20180198.

Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness provides a framework for understanding the evolution of social behaviour between kin, including parental and alloparental care. Brood parasitism is a reproductive tactic in which parasites exploit the care of other individuals of the same species (conspecific parasitism) or different species (interspecific parasitism) to rear their brood. Here, drawing from examples in birds and social insects, we identify two insights into brood parasitism that stem from inclusive fitness theory. First, the kin structure within nests, or between neighbouring nests, can create a niche space favouring the evolution of conspecific parasitism. For example, low average relatedness within social insect nests can increase selection for reproductive cheats. Likewise, high average relatedness between adjacent nests of some birds can increase a female's tolerance of parasitism by her neighbour. Second, intrabrood conflict will be high in parasitized broods, from the perspective of both parasite and host young, relative to unparasitized broods. We also discuss offspring recognition by hosts as an example of discrimination in a kin-selected social behaviour. We conclude that the inclusive fitness framework is instructive for understanding aspects of brood parasite and host evolution. In turn, brood parasites present some unique opportunities to test the predictions of inclusive fitness theory. This article is part of the theme issue 'The coevolutionary biology of brood parasitism: from mechanism to pattern'.

RevDate: 2019-04-26

Vitikainen EIK, Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, et al (2019)

Live long and prosper: durable benefits of early-life care in banded mongooses.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1770):20180114.

Kin selection theory defines the conditions for which altruism or 'helping' can be favoured by natural selection. Tests of this theory in cooperatively breeding animals have focused on the short-term benefits to the recipients of help, such as improved growth or survival to adulthood. However, research on early-life effects suggests that there may be more durable, lifelong fitness impacts to the recipients of help, which in theory should strengthen selection for helping. Here, we show in cooperatively breeding banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) that care received in the first 3 months of life has lifelong fitness benefits for both male and female recipients. In this species, adult helpers called 'escorts' form exclusive one-to-one caring relationships with specific pups (not their own offspring), allowing us to isolate the effects of being escorted on later reproduction and survival. Pups that were more closely escorted were heavier at sexual maturity, which was associated with higher lifetime reproductive success for both sexes. Moreover, for female offspring, lifetime reproductive success increased with the level of escorting received per se, over and above any effect on body mass. Our results suggest that early-life social care has durable benefits to offspring of both sexes in this species. Given the well-established developmental effects of early-life care in laboratory animals and humans, we suggest that similar effects are likely to be widespread in social animals more generally. We discuss some of the implications of durable fitness benefits for the evolution of intergenerational helping in cooperative animal societies, including humans. This article is part of the theme issue 'Developing differences: early-life effects and evolutionary medicine'.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Kuijper B, RA Johnstone (2019)

The evolution of early-life effects on social behaviour-why should social adversity carry over to the future?.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1770):20180111.

Numerous studies have shown that social adversity in early life can have long-lasting consequences for social behaviour in adulthood, consequences that may in turn be propagated to future generations. Given these intergenerational effects, it is puzzling why natural selection might favour such sensitivity to an individual's early social environment. To address this question, we model the evolution of social sensitivity in the development of helping behaviours, showing that natural selection indeed favours individuals whose tendency to help others is dependent on early-life social experience. In organisms with non-overlapping generations, we find that natural selection can favour positive social feedbacks, in which individuals who received more help in early life are also more likely to help others in adulthood, while individuals who received no early-life help develop low tendencies to help others later in life. This positive social sensitivity is favoured because of an intergenerational relatedness feedback: patches with many helpers tend to be more productive, leading to higher relatedness within the local group, which in turn favours higher levels of help in the next generation. In organisms with overlapping generations, this positive feedback is less likely to occur, and those who received more help may instead be less likely to help others (negative social feedback). We conclude that early-life social influences can lead to strong between-individual differences in helping behaviour, which can take different forms dependent on the life history in question. This article is part of the theme issue 'Developing differences: early-life effects and evolutionary medicine'.

RevDate: 2019-06-07

Schindler S, AN Radford (2018)

Factors influencing within-group conflict over defence against conspecific outsiders seeking breeding positions.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1893):20181669.

In social species, groups face a variety of threats from conspecific outsiders. Defensive actions are therefore common, but there is considerable variation in which individuals contribute and to what extent. There has been some theoretical exploration of this variation when the defence is of shared resources, but the relative contributions when a single intruder threatens a particular breeding position have received less attention. Defensive actions are costly, both for the individual and dependent young, and contributions are likely to differ depending on individual sex, rank and size, current breeding stage, infanticide risk and relatedness levels. Here, we model analytically the relative fitness benefits of different group members to engaging in defence against individual intruders and determine when within-group conflicts of interest might arise over these defensive contributions. Conflicts of interest between the challenged breeder and other group members depend on relatedness to the brood and the potential relatedness reduction if an intruder acquires breeding status. Conflicts are more likely to occur when there is a low chance of winning the contest, low infanticide rates, inefficient defence from helpers, a long remaining brood-dependency period and high external (non-contest-related) mortality. Our work can help explain variation in defensive actions against out-group threats.

RevDate: 2019-04-11

Faria GS, Varela SAM, A Gardner (2019)

The social evolution of sleep: sex differences, intragenomic conflicts and clinical pathologies.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1894):20182188.

Sleep appears to be essential for most animals, including humans. Accordingly, individuals who sacrifice sleep are expected to incur costs and so should only be evolutionarily favoured to do this when these costs are offset by other benefits. For instance, a social group might benefit from having some level of wakefulness during the sleeping period if this guards against possible threats. Alternatively, individuals might sacrifice sleep in order to gain an advantage over mate competitors. Here, we perform a theoretical analysis of the social evolutionary pressures that drive investment into sleep versus wakefulness. Specifically, we: investigate how relatedness between social partners may modulate sleeping strategies, depending upon whether sleep sacrifice is selfish or altruistic; determine the conditions under which the sexes are favoured to adopt different sleeping strategies; identify the potential for intragenomic conflict between maternal-origin versus paternal-origin genes regarding an individual's sleeping behaviour; translate this conflict into novel and readily testable predictions concerning patterns of gene expression; and explore the concomitant effects of different kinds of mutations, epimutations, and uniparental disomies in relation to sleep disorders and other clinical pathologies. Our aim is to provide a theoretical framework for future empirical data and stimulate further research on this neglected topic.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Humphreys RK, GD Ruxton (2019)

Adaptive suicide: is a kin-selected driver of fatal behaviours likely?.

Biology letters, 15(2):20180823.

While several manipulated host behaviours are accepted as extended phenotypes of parasites, there remains debate over whether other altered behaviours in hosts following parasitic invasion represent cases of parasite manipulation, host defence or the pathology of infection. One particularly controversial subject is 'suicidal behaviour' in infected hosts. The host-suicide hypothesis proposes that host death benefits hosts doomed to reduced direct fitness by protecting kin from parasitism and therefore increasing inclusive fitness. However, adaptive suicide has been difficult to demonstrate conclusively as a host adaptation in studies on social or clonal insects, for whom high relatedness should enable greater inclusive fitness benefits. Following discussion of empirical and theoretical works from a behavioural ecology perspective, this review finds that the most persuasive evidence for selection of adaptive suicide comes from bacteria. Despite a focus on parasites, driven by the existing literature, the potential for the evolution of adaptive suicidal behaviour in hosts is also considered to apply to cases of infection by pathogens, provided that the disease has a severe effect on direct fitness and that suicidal behaviour can affect pathogen transmission dynamics. Suggestions are made for future research and a broadening of the possible implications for coevolution between parasites and hosts.

RevDate: 2019-04-07

Spring S, Lehner M, Huber L, et al (2019)

Oviposition and father presence reduce clutch cannibalism by female poison frogs.

Frontiers in zoology, 16:8 pii:304.

Background: The consumption of conspecific young by adult individuals is a common phenomenon across various animal taxa. Possible adaptive benefits of such behaviour include the acquisition of nutrients, decreased competition for one's own offspring, and/or increased mating opportunities. Clutch cannibalism has occasionally been observed in several species of Neotropical poison frogs, but the circumstances under which this behaviour occurs has rarely been investigated experimentally. Recent experiments with the poison frog Allobates femoralis have shown that males indiscriminately transport all clutches located inside their own territory to bodies of water, but become highly cannibalistic when taking over a new territory. Females are able to indirectly discriminate between their own and foreign clutches by location and take over transport duties of their own clutches only in the absence of the father. Cannibalism by A. femoralis females has not been previously observed. We thus asked if, and under which circumstances, cannibalism of unrelated clutches by female A. femoralis would occur, by manipulating the presence of the clutch's father, the female's own reproductive state, and the female's familiarity with the environment.

Results: Females clearly cannibalize foreign clutches. Cannibalism was most pronounced when the female had not recently produced her own clutch and the father of the foreign clutch was absent. The female's familiarity with the area had no significant influence on the likelihood of cannibalism to occur.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that both previous oviposition and the father's presence reduce cannibalistic behaviour in A. femoralis females. Cannibalistic females may gain nutritional benefits or enhanced inclusive fitness by preying on other females' offspring. The finding that the father's presence at the clutch site/territory was sufficient to reduce cannibalism by females suggests a prominent role of male territoriality for the evolution of male parental care.

RevDate: 2019-05-08

Smith AR, Kapheim KM, Kingwell CJ, et al (2019)

A split sex ratio in solitary and social nests of a facultatively social bee.

Biology letters, 15(4):20180740.

A classic prediction of kin selection theory is that a mixed population of social and solitary nests of haplodiploid insects should exhibit a split sex ratio among offspring: female biased in social nests, male biased in solitary nests. Here, we provide the first evidence of a solitary-social split sex ratio, using the sweat bee Megalopta genalis (Halictidae). Data from 2502 offspring collected from naturally occurring nests across 6 years spanning the range of the M. genalis reproductive season show that despite significant yearly and seasonal variation, the offspring sex ratio of social nests is consistently more female biased than in solitary nests. This suggests that split sex ratios may facilitate the evolutionary origins of cooperation based on reproductive altruism via kin selection.

RevDate: 2019-04-02

Atchison BJ, DL Goodwin (2019)

"My Child May Be Ready, but I Am Not": Parents' Experiences of Their Children's Transition to Inclusive Fitness Settings.

Adapted physical activity quarterly : APAQ, 36(2):282-301.

Parents play an essential role in the transition from separate physical activity programs to inclusive settings for their children. The purpose of this study was to explore experiences of parents as they anticipate and prepare for their children experiencing disability to transition, understand strategies used to address transition, and gain insights into the supports important to families during transition. Using an interpretative phenomenological analysis research approach, semistructured one-on-one interviews were conducted with 8 parents whose children were undergoing the transition from separate to inclusive community fitness contexts. Four themes described the experiences of parents as they anticipated, prepared for, and supported their child to transition: My child may be ready, but I am not; fear of outside judgment; playing by their rules; and reframing our thinking. Using Schlossberg's model, the tensions parents faced as they negotiated new roles, relationships, routines, and assumptions as they moved through the transition process were uncovered. The parents experienced transition alongside their children, providing insights for fitness and health-promotion professionals. Without preparation for transition, apprehensions and hesitancy may postpone or prevent their children's transition to community programs.

RevDate: 2019-02-24

David-Barrett T (2019)

Network Effects of Demographic Transition.

Scientific reports, 9(1):2361 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-39025-4.

Traditional human societies use two of biology's solutions to reduce free-riding: by collaborating with relatives, they rely on the mechanism of kin-selection, and by forming highly clustered social kin-networks, they can efficiently use reputation dynamics. Both of these solutions assume the presence of relatives. This paper shows how social networks change during demographic transition. With falling fertility, there are fewer children that could be relatives to one another. As the missing kin are replaced by non-kin friends, local clustering in the social network drops. This effect is compounded by increasing population size, characteristic of demographic transition. The paper also shows that the speed at which reputation spreads in the network slows down due to both falling fertility and increasing group size. Thus, demographic transition weakens both mechanisms for eliminating free-riders: there are fewer relatives around, and reputation spreads slower. This new link between falling fertility and the altered structure of the social network offers novel interpretations of the origins of legal institutions, the Small World phenomenon, the social impact of urbanisation, and the birds-of-a-feather friendship choice heuristic.

RevDate: 2019-02-19

Engelhardt SC, Bergeron P, Gagnon A, et al (2019)

Using Geographic Distance as a Potential Proxy for Help in the Assessment of the Grandmother Hypothesis.

Current biology : CB, 29(4):651-656.e3.

Life-history theory predicts that selection could favor the decoupling of somatic and reproductive senescence if post-reproductive lifespan (PRLS) provides additional indirect fitness benefits [1, 2]. The grandmother hypothesis proposes that prolonged PRLS evolved because post-reproductive grandmothers gain inclusive fitness benefits by helping their daughters and grandchildren [3, 4]. Because most historical human data do not report direct evidence of help, we hypothesized that geographic distance between individuals may be inversely related to their capacity to help. Using an exceptionally detailed dataset of pre-industrial French settlers in the St. Lawrence Valley during the 17th and 18th centuries, we assessed the potential for grandmothers to improve their inclusive fitness by helping their descendants, and we evaluated how this effect varied with geographic distance, ranging between 0 and 325 km, while accounting for potential familial genetic and environmental effects [5-9]. Grandmothers (F0) who were alive allowed their daughters (F1) to increase their number of offspring (F2) born by 2.1 and to increase their number of offspring surviving to 15 years of age by 1.1 compared to when grandmothers were dead. However, the age at first reproduction was not influenced by the life status (alive or dead) of grandmothers. As geographic distance increased, the number of offspring born and lifetime reproductive success decreased, while the age at first reproduction increased, despite the grandmother being alive in these analyses. Our study suggests that geographic proximity has the potential to modulate inclusive fitness, supporting the grandmother hypothesis, and to contribute to our understanding of the evolution of PRLS.

RevDate: 2019-02-19

Chapman SN, Pettay JE, Lummaa V, et al (2019)

Limits to Fitness Benefits of Prolonged Post-reproductive Lifespan in Women.

Current biology : CB, 29(4):645-650.e3.

Recent advances in medicine and life-expectancy gains have fueled multidisciplinary research into the limits of human lifespan [1-3]. Ultimately, how long humans can live for may depend on selection favoring extended longevity in our evolutionary past [4]. Human females have an unusually extended post-reproductive lifespan, which has been explained by the fitness benefits provided from helping to raise grandchildren following menopause [5, 6]. However, formal tests of whether such grandmothering benefits wane with grandmother age and explain the observed length of post-reproductive lifespan are missing. This is critical for understanding prevailing selection pressures on longevity but to date has been overlooked as a possible mechanism driving the evolution of lifespan. Here, we use extensive data from pre-industrial humans to show that fitness gains from grandmothering are dependent on grandmother age, affecting selection on the length of post-reproductive lifespan. We find both opportunities and ability to help grandchildren declined with age, while the hazard of death of women increased greatly in their late 60s and 70s compared to menopausal ages, together implying waning selection on subsequent longevity. The presence of maternal grandmothers aged 50-75 increased grandchild survival after weaning, confirming the fitness advantage of post-reproductive lifespan. However, co-residence with paternal grandmothers aged 75+ was detrimental to grandchild survival, with those grandmothers close to death and presumably in poorer health particularly associated with lower grandchild survival. The age limitations of gaining inclusive fitness from grandmothering suggests that grandmothering can select for post-reproductive longevity only up to a certain point.

RevDate: 2019-02-05

Almond EJ, Huggins TJ, Crowther LP, et al (2019)

Queen Longevity and Fecundity Affect Conflict with Workers over Resource Inheritance in a Social Insect.

The American naturalist, 193(2):256-266.

Resource inheritance is a major source of conflict in animal societies. However, the assumptions and predictions of models of conflict over resource inheritance have not been systematically tested within a single system. We developed an inclusive fitness model for annual eusocial Hymenoptera that predicts a zone of conflict in which future reproductive workers are selected to enforce nest inheritance before the queen is selected to cede the nest. We experimentally tested key elements of this model in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. In colonies from which queens were sequentially removed, queen tenure was significantly negatively associated with worker male production, confirming that workers gain direct fitness by usurping the queen. In unmanipulated colonies, queen fecundity decreased significantly over the latter part of the colony cycle, confirming that workers' indirect fitness from maintaining queens declines over time. Finally, in an experiment simulating loss of queen fecundity by removal of queens' eggs, worker-to-queen aggression increased significantly and aggressive workers were significantly more likely to become egg layers, consistent with workers monitoring queen fecundity to assess the net benefit of future reproduction. Overall, by upholding key assumptions and predictions of the model, our results provide novel empirical support for kin-selected conflict over resource inheritance.

RevDate: 2019-02-08

Amici F, Sánchez-Amaro A, Sebastián-Enesco C, et al (2019)

The word order of languages predicts native speakers' working memory.

Scientific reports, 9(1):1124 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-37654-9.

The relationship between language and thought is controversial. One hypothesis is that language fosters habits of processing information that are retained even in non-linguistic domains. In left-branching (LB) languages, modifiers usually precede the head, and real-time sentence comprehension may more heavily rely on retaining initial information in working memory. Here we presented a battery of working memory and short-term memory tasks to adult native speakers of four LB and four right-branching (RB) languages from Africa, Asia and Europe. In working memory tasks, LB speakers were better than RB speakers at recalling initial stimuli, but worse at recalling final stimuli. Our results show that the practice of parsing sentences in specific directions due to the syntax and word order of our native language not only predicts the way we remember words, but also other non-linguistic stimuli.

RevDate: 2019-03-04

Grueter CC, Hale J, Jin R, et al (2019)

Infant handling by female mountain gorillas: Establishing its frequency, function, and (ir)relevance for life history evolution.

American journal of physical anthropology, 168(4):744-749.

OBJECTIVES: Infant handling describes cases in which youngsters are temporarily removed from the care of their mothers and "taken care of" (held, carried, etc.) by other conspecifics. Handlers may gain indirect fitness benefits from these actions and can practice mothering skills, thereby improving the odds of survival of their own infants. Great apes are notable for displaying little infant handling. Apart from anecdotal observations, no published data exist on infant handling in wild mountain gorillas. We tested two of the most pertinent explanations ("kin selection" and "learning to mother") in a wild population of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. We predicted that (a) nulliparous females would exhibit infant handling (i.e., carrying) more than parous females and (b) maternal kin would exhibit more infant handling than nonkin.

METHODS: We collated 8 years of data on infant carrying behavior collected in 13 groups monitored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund's Karisoke Research Center.

RESULTS: Infant handling is an infrequent behavior (1,783 instances over 25,600 observation hours). A strong positive effect of relatedness and handler parity on the frequency of infant handling emerged.

CONCLUSIONS: While the nature of handler-infant interactions (affiliative, abusive, etc.) remains unstudied, they could constitute alloparental care and could therefore attenuate maternal energetic burden and ultimately allow increased birth rates. However, the rarity of this behavior makes it an unlikely contributor to mountain gorillas' relatively short interbirth intervals.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Bose APH, Henshaw JM, Zimmermann H, et al (2019)

Inclusive fitness benefits mitigate costs of cuckoldry to socially paired males.

BMC biology, 17(1):2 pii:10.1186/s12915-018-0620-6.

BACKGROUND: In socially monogamous species, reproduction is not always confined to paired males and females. Extra-pair males commonly also reproduce with paired females, which is traditionally thought to be costly to the females' social partners. However, we suggest that when the relatedness between reproducing individuals is considered, cuckolded males can suffer lower fitness losses than otherwise expected, especially when the rate of cuckoldry is high. We combine theoretical modeling with a detailed genetic study on a socially monogamous wild fish, Variabilichromis moorii, which displays biparental care despite exceptionally high rates of extra-pair paternity.

RESULTS: We measured the relatedness between all parties involved in V. moorii spawning events (i.e. between males and females in social pairs, females and their extra-pair partners, and paired males and their cuckolders), and we reveal that males are on average more related to their cuckolders than expected by chance. Queller-Goodnight estimates of relatedness between males and their cuckolders are on average r = 0.038 but can range up to r = 0.64. This also increases the relatedness between males and the extra-pair offspring under their care. These intriguing results are consistent with the predictions of our mathematical model, which shows that elevated relatedness between paired males and their cuckolders can be adaptive for both parties when competition for fertilizations is strong.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show how cuckoldry by relatives can offset males' direct fitness losses with inclusive fitness gains, which can be substantial in systems where males face almost certain paternity losses.

RevDate: 2019-01-28

Grodwohl JB (2019)

Animal Behavior, Population Biology and the Modern Synthesis (1955-1985).

Journal of the history of biology pii:10.1007/s10739-018-9553-8 [Epub ahead of print].

This paper examines the history of animal behavior studies after the synthesis period. Three episodes are considered: the adoption of the theory of natural selection, the mathematization of ideas, and the spread of molecular methods in behavior studies. In these three episodes, students of behavior adopted practices and standards developed in population ecology and population genetics. While they borrowed tools and methods from these fields, they made distinct uses (inclusive fitness method, evolutionary theory of games, emphasis on individual selection) that set them relatively apart and led them to contribute, in their own way, to evolutionary theory. These episodes also highlight some limitations of "conjunction narratives" centered on the relation between a discipline and the modern synthesis. A trend in conjunction narratives is to interpret any development related to evolution in a discipline as an "extension," an "integration," or as a "delayed" synthesis. I here suggest that this can lead to underestimate discontinuities in the history of evolutionary biology.

RevDate: 2019-05-07

Patel M, Raymond B, Bonsall MB, et al (2019)

Crystal toxins and the volunteer's dilemma in bacteria.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 32(4):310-319.

The growth and virulence of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis depend on the production of Cry toxins, which are used to perforate the gut of its host. Successful invasion of the host relies on producing a threshold amount of toxin, after which there is no benefit from producing more toxin. Consequently, the production of Cry toxin appears to be a different type of social problem compared with the public goods scenarios that bacteria usually encounter. We show that selection for toxin production is a volunteer's dilemma. We make specific predictions that (a) selection for toxin production depends upon an interplay between the number of bacterial cells that each host ingests and the genetic relatedness between those cells; (b) cheats that do not produce toxin gain an advantage when at low frequencies, and at high bacterial density, allowing them to be maintained in a population alongside toxin-producing cells. More generally, our results emphasize the diversity of the social games that bacteria play.

RevDate: 2019-04-09

Barstow BA, Vice J, Bowman S, et al (2019)

Examining perceptions of existing and newly created accessibility symbols.

Disability and health journal, 12(2):180-186.

BACKGROUND: Symbols are used to convey messages in a clear, understandable manner, without the use of written language. The most widely recognized symbol used to denote access for persons with disabilities is the International Symbol of Access. This symbol has been criticized for its inadequate representation of disability diversity poorly representing universal design of space and products.

OBJECTIVE: This descriptive study explored individual comprehension and perceptions of nine existing and newly created accessibility pictograph symbols and identified one that represented universal access to fitness equipment.

METHODS: A survey was disseminated electronically and face-to-face to individuals, groups and organizations affiliated with inclusive fitness equipment, space and programming. Quantitative data was analyzed for descriptive statistics, rank order of symbols and group comparisons of rankings. Thematic analysis of open-ended question results revealed themes to enhance understanding of symbol rank order.

RESULTS: 981 participants completed the survey. Symbol four, shaped as a Venn diagram containing three icons representing individuals with varying ability levels, was ranked highest with no significant differences in group comparisons between participants with and without a disability and U.S. residents versus non-U.S. residents. 85.4% of participants demonstrated accurate comprehension of this symbol. Though symbol five had the same symbol rank median value, this symbol's distribution of scores was lower.

CONCLUSIONS: Participants accurately comprehended symbol four and it was identified as the highest ranked symbol representing universal access to fitness equipment. Because of symbol unfamiliarity, adoption will require education and consistency of use and placement.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Lohr JN, Galimov ER, D Gems (2019)

Does senescence promote fitness in Caenorhabditis elegans by causing death?.

Ageing research reviews, 50:58-71.

A widely appreciated conclusion from evolutionary theory is that senescence (aging) is of no adaptive value to the individual that it afflicts. Yet studies of Caenorhabditis elegans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae are increasingly revealing the presence of processes which actively cause senescence and death, leading some biogerontologists to wonder about the established theory. Here we argue that programmed death that increases fitness could occur in C. elegans and S. cerevisiae, and that this is consistent with the classic evolutionary theory of aging. This is because of the special conditions under which these organisms have evolved, particularly the existence of clonal populations with limited dispersal and, in the case of C. elegans, the brevity of the reproductive period caused by protandrous hermaphroditism. Under these conditions, death-promoting mechanisms could promote worm fitness by enhancing inclusive fitness, or worm colony fitness through group selection. Such altruistic, adaptive death is not expected to evolve in organisms with outbred, dispersed populations (e.g. most vertebrate species). The plausibility of adaptive death in C. elegans is supported by computer modelling studies, and new knowledge about the ecology of this species. To support these arguments we also review the biology of adaptive death, and distinguish three forms: consumer sacrifice, biomass sacrifice and defensive sacrifice.

RevDate: 2019-02-03

Narasimha S, Nagornov KO, Menin L, et al (2019)

Drosophila melanogaster cloak their eggs with pheromones, which prevents cannibalism.

PLoS biology, 17(1):e2006012 pii:pbio.2006012.

Oviparous animals across many taxa have evolved diverse strategies that deter egg predation, providing valuable tests of how natural selection mitigates direct fitness loss. Communal egg laying in nonsocial species minimizes egg predation. However, in cannibalistic species, this very behavior facilitates egg predation by conspecifics (cannibalism). Similarly, toxins and aposematic signaling that deter egg predators are often inefficient against resistant conspecifics. Egg cannibalism can be adaptive, wherein cannibals may benefit through reduced competition and added nutrition, but since it reduces Darwinian fitness, the evolution of anticannibalistic strategies is rife. However, such strategies are likely to be nontoxic because deploying toxins against related individuals would reduce inclusive fitness. Here, we report how D. melanogaster use specific hydrocarbons to chemically mask their eggs from cannibal larvae. Using an integrative approach combining behavioral, sensory, and mass spectrometry methods, we demonstrate that maternally provisioned pheromone 7,11-heptacosadiene (7,11-HD) in the eggshell's wax layer deters egg cannibalism. Furthermore, we show that 7,11-HD is nontoxic, can mask underlying substrates (for example, yeast) when coated upon them, and its detection requires pickpocket 23 (ppk23) gene function. Finally, using light and electron microscopy, we demonstrate how maternal pheromones leak-proof the egg, consequently concealing it from conspecific larvae. Our data suggest that semiochemicals possibly subserve in deceptive functions across taxa, especially when predators rely on chemical cues to forage, and stimulate further research on deceptive strategies mediated through nonvisual sensory modules. This study thus highlights how integrative approaches can illuminate our understanding on the adaptive significance of deceptive defenses and the mechanisms through which they operate.

RevDate: 2019-05-17

Aumer D, Stolle E, Allsopp M, et al (2019)

A Single SNP Turns a Social Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Worker into a Selfish Parasite.

Molecular biology and evolution, 36(3):516-526.

The evolution of altruism in complex insect societies is arguably one of the major transitions in evolution and inclusive fitness theory plausibly explains why this is an evolutionary stable strategy. Yet, workers of the South African Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis) can reverse to selfish behavior by becoming social parasites and parthenogenetically producing female offspring (thelytoky). Using a joint mapping and population genomics approach, in combination with a time-course transcript abundance dynamics analysis, we show that a single nucleotide polymorphism at the mapped thelytoky locus (Th) is associated with the iconic thelytokous phenotype. Th forms a linkage group with the ecdysis-triggering hormone receptor (Ethr) within a nonrecombining region under strong selection in the genome. A balanced detrimental allele system plausibly explains why the trait is specific to A. m. capensis and cannot easily establish itself into genomes of other honey bee subspecies.

RevDate: 2018-12-21

Hare D, Blossey B, HK Reeve (2018)

Value of species and the evolution of conservation ethics.

Royal Society open science, 5(11):181038 pii:rsos181038.

The theory of evolution by natural selection can help explain why people care about other species. Building upon recent insights that morality evolves to secure fitness advantages of cooperation, we propose that conservation ethics (moral beliefs, attitudes, intuitions and norms regarding other species) could be adaptations that support cooperation between humans and non-humans. We present eco-evolutionary cost-benefit models of conservation behaviours as interspecific cooperation (altruism towards members of other species). We find that an evolutionary rule identical in structure to Hamilton's rule (which explains altruistic behaviour towards related conspecifics) can explain altruistic behaviour towards members of other species. Natural selection will favour traits for selectively altering the success of members of other species (e.g. conserving them) in ways that maximize inclusive fitness return benefits. Conservation behaviours and the ethics that evolve to reinforce them will be sensitive to local ecological and socio-cultural conditions, so will assume different contours in different places. Difficulties accurately assessing costs and benefits provided by other species, time required to adapt to ecological and socio-cultural change and barriers to collective action could explain the apparent contradiction between the widespread existence of conservation ethics and patterns of biodiversity decline globally.

RevDate: 2019-01-02

Eshel I (2018)

Mutual altruism and long-term optimization of the inclusive fitness in multilocus genetic systems.

Theoretical population biology pii:S0040-5809(18)30118-7 [Epub ahead of print].

The dynamics of long-term evolution in a complex genetically-structured population with a flux of random mutations is employed here to study the evolution of mutual altruism between relatives that are encountered repeatedly, where the level of altruism is measured by the risk one is willing to accept in order to save the life of one's relative. It is shown that regardless of the number of loci involved, of the rates of recombination among them, and of the intensity of the selection forces, the long-term dynamics can phenotypically converge only to a level of altruism that maximizes the individual inclusive fitness as it has previously defined by students of the individual approach to evolution. Except for the widely studied case of weak selection, however, the convergence to such a level of altruism is not necessarily generation-to-next monotone. It is further shown that, unlike the case of the one-shot encounter, repeated encounters between relatives allow for more than one level of altruism which may maximize the inclusive fitness, in which case not all such levels of altruism are evolutionarily accessible.

RevDate: 2018-12-07

Clarke PMR, McElreath MB, Barrett BJ, et al (2018)

The evolution of bequeathal in stable habitats.

Ecology and evolution, 8(21):10594-10607.

Adults sometimes disperse, while philopatric offspring inherit the natal site, a pattern known as bequeathal. Despite a decades-old empirical literature, little theoretical work has explored when natural selection may favor bequeathal. We present a simple mathematical model of the evolution of bequeathal in a stable environment, under both global and local dispersal. We find that natural selection favors bequeathal when adults are competitively advantaged over juveniles, baseline mortality is high, the environment is unsaturated, and when juveniles experience high dispersal mortality. However, frequently bequeathal may not evolve, because the fitness cost for the adult is too large relative to inclusive fitness benefits. Additionally, there are many situations for which bequeathal is an ESS, yet cannot invade the population. As bequeathal in real populations appears to be facultative, yet-to-be-modeled factors like timing of birth in the breeding season may strongly influence the patterns seen in natural populations.

RevDate: 2018-11-20

Amici F (2018)

An Evolutionary Approach to the Study of Collaborative Remembering?.

Topics in cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

Hope and Gabbert (2008) and Jay and colleagues (in press) show us that collaborative remembering, in certain contexts, may result in incomplete and less accurate memories. Here, I will discuss the evolutionary origins of this behavior, linking it to phenomena such as social contagion, conformity, and social learning, which are highly adaptive and widespread across non-human taxa.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Ruiz-Lambides AV, Weiß BM, Kulik L, et al (2018)

Which male and female characteristics influence the probability of extragroup paternities in rhesus macaques, Macaca mulatta?.

Animal behaviour, 140:119-127.

Extragroup paternity (EGP) is found across a wide range of species and may entail reproductive benefits, but may also entail costs to both sexes. While population and group parameters affecting the degree of EGPs are relatively well established, less is known about the individual characteristics that make males and females engage in alternative reproductive tactics such as EGP. Applying a combination of long-term demographic and genetic data from the rhesus macaque population of Cayo Santiago (Puerto Rico, U.S.A.), we investigate which male and female characteristics influence the probability of EGP to better understand the circumstances that shape the distribution and occurrence of EGP. Our results show that, against our expectations, higher-ranking females were more likely to produce EGP offspring than lower- ranking females. The probability of producing extragroup offspring was not significantly related to female or male age, male tenure or previous reproductive success. Furthermore, genetic relatedness between the parents did not affect the production of extragroup offspring, but extragroup offspring were more frequently produced early rather than late in a given mating season. Altogether, our analysis suggests that individual attributes and seasonal aspects create different opportunities and preferences for engaging in EGP as an alternative reproductive tactic. The observed patterns of EGP in rhesus macaques appear to be consistent with female mate choice for genetic benefits, which needs to be confirmed in future studies.

RevDate: 2018-12-07

Antfolk J, Lieberman D, Harju C, et al (2018)

Opposition to Inbreeding Between Close Kin Reflects Inclusive Fitness Costs.

Frontiers in psychology, 9:2101.

Due to the intense selection pressure against inbreeding, humans are expected to possess psychological adaptations that regulate mate choice and avoid inbreeding. From a gene's-eye perspective, there is little difference in the evolutionary costs between situations where an individual him/herself is participating in inbreeding and inbreeding among other close relatives. The difference is merely quantitative, as fitness can be compromised via both routes. The question is whether humans are sensitive to the direct as well as indirect costs of inbreeding. Using responses from a large population-based sample (27,364 responses from 2,353 participants), we found that human motivations to avoid inbreeding closely track the theoretical costs of inbreeding as predicted by inclusive fitness theory. Participants were asked to select in a forced choice paradigm, which of two acts of inbreeding with actual family members they would want to avoid most. We found that the estimated fitness costs explained 83.6% of participant choices. Importantly, fitness costs explained choices also when the self was not involved. We conclude that humans intuit the indirect fitness costs of mating decisions made by close family members and that psychological inbreeding avoidance mechanisms extend beyond self-regulation.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Mullon C, L Lehmann (2018)

Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics in Metacommunities: Ecological Inheritance, Helping within Species, and Harming between Species.

The American naturalist, 192(6):664-686.

Understanding selection on intra- and interspecific interactions that take place in dispersal-limited communities is a challenge for ecology and evolutionary biology. The problem is that local demographic stochasticity generates eco-evolutionary dynamics that are generally too complicated to make tractable analytical investigations. Here we circumvent this problem by approximating the selection gradient on a quantitative trait that influences local community dynamics, assuming that such dynamics are deterministic with a stable fixed point. The model nonetheless captures unavoidable kin selection effects arising from demographic stochasticity. Our approximation reveals that selection depends on how an individual expressing a trait change influences (1) its own fitness and the fitness of its current relatives and (2) the fitness of its downstream relatives through modifications of local ecological conditions (i.e., through ecological inheritance). Mathematically, the effects of ecological inheritance on selection are captured by dispersal-limited versions of press perturbations of community ecology. We use our approximation to investigate the evolution of helping within species and harming between species when these behaviors influence demography. We find that altruistic helping evolves more readily when intraspecific competition is for material resources rather than for space, because in this case the costs of kin competition tend to be paid by downstream relatives. Similarly, altruistic harming between species evolves when it alleviates downstream relatives from interspecific competition. Beyond these examples, our approximation can help better understand the influence of ecological inheritance on a variety of eco-evolutionary dynamics in metacommunities, from consumer-resource and predator-prey coevolution to selection on mating systems with demographic feedbacks.

RevDate: 2019-01-11

Thomson CE, JD Hadfield (2019)

No evidence for sibling or parent-offspring coadaptation in a wild population of blue tits, despite high power.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 73(1):28-41.

Parent and offspring behaviors are expected to act as both the agents and targets of selection. This may generate parent-offspring coadaptation in which parent and offspring behaviors become genetically correlated in a way that increases inclusive fitness. Cross-fostering has been used to study parent-offspring coadaptation, with the prediction that offspring raised by non-relatives, or parents raising non-relatives, should suffer fitness costs. Using long-term data from more than 400 partially crossed broods of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), we show that there is no difference in mass or survival between crossed and non-crossed chicks. However, previous studies for which the evidence for parent-offspring coadaptation is strongest compare chicks from fully crossed broods with those from non-crossed broods. When parent-offspring coadaptation acts at the level of the brood then partial cross-fostering experiments are not expected to show evidence of coadaptation. To test this, we performed an additional experiment (163 broods) in which clutches were either fully crossed, non-crossed, or partially crossed. In agreement with the long-term data, there was no evidence for parent-offspring coadaptation on offspring fitness despite high power. In addition there was no evidence of effects on parental fitness, nor evidence of sibling coadaptation, although the power of these tests was more modest.

RevDate: 2019-06-10
CmpDate: 2019-01-07

Wang C, X Lu (2018)

Reply to Engelhardt et al.: Inclusive fitness does maintain a heritable altruism polymorphism in Tibetan ground tits.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(48):E11210-E11211.

RevDate: 2019-05-20
CmpDate: 2019-01-23

Green JP, BJ Hatchwell (2018)

Inclusive fitness consequences of dispersal decisions in a cooperatively breeding bird, the long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus).

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(47):12011-12016.

Natal dispersal is a demographic trait with profound evolutionary, ecological, and behavioral consequences. However, our understanding of the adaptive value of dispersal patterns is severely hampered by the difficulty of measuring the relative fitness consequences of alternative dispersal strategies in natural populations. This is especially true in social species, in which natal philopatry allows kin selection to operate, so direct and indirect components of inclusive fitness have to be considered when evaluating selection on dispersal. Here, we use lifetime reproductive success data from a long-term study of a cooperative breeder, the long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus, to quantify the direct and indirect components of inclusive fitness. We show that dispersal has a negative effect on the accrual of indirect fitness, and hence inclusive fitness, by males. In contrast, the inclusive, predominantly direct, fitness of females increases with dispersal distance. We conclude that the conflicting fitness consequences of dispersal in this species result in sexually antagonistic selection on this key demographic parameter.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Macfarlan SJ, Erickson PI, Yost J, et al (2018)

Bands of brothers and in-laws: Waorani warfare, marriage and alliance formation.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1890):.

The root of modern human warfare lies in the lethal coalitionary violence of males in small-scale societies. However, there is a paucity of quantitative data concerning the form and function of coalitionary violence in this setting. Debates exist over how lethal coalitions are constituted, as well as the motivations and benefits for males to join such groups. Data from a lowland Amazonian population, the Waorani of Ecuador, illuminate three issues: (i) the degree to which raiding parties are composed of groups of fraternal kin as opposed to strategic alliances of actual or potential affinal kin; (ii) the extent to which individuals use pre-existing affinal ties to motivate others to participate in war or leverage warfare as a mechanism to create such ties; and (iii) the extent to which participation in raiding is driven by rewards associated with future marriage opportunities. Analyses demonstrate that Waorani raiding parties were composed of a mix of males who were potential affines, actual affines and fraternal kin, suggesting that men used pre-existing genetic, lineal and social kin ties for recruiting raid partners and used raiding as a venue to create novel social relationships. Furthermore, analyses demonstrate that males leveraged raiding alliances to achieve marriage opportunities for themselves as well as for their children. Overall, it appears that a complex set of motivations involving individual rewards, kin marriage opportunities, subtle coercion and the assessment of alliance strength promote violent intergroup conflict among the Waorani. These findings illustrate the complex inter-relationships among kin selection, coalition building and mating success in our species.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Holen ØH, RA Johnstone (2018)

Reciprocal mimicry: kin selection can drive defended prey to resemble their Batesian mimics.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1890):.

Established mimicry theory predicts that Batesian mimics are selected to resemble their defended models, while models are selected to become dissimilar from their mimics. However, this theory has mainly considered individual selection acting on solitary organisms such as adult butterflies. Although Batesian mimicry of social insects is common, the few existing applications of kin selection theory to mimicry have emphasized relatedness among mimics rather than among models. Here, we present a signal detection model of Batesian mimicry in which the population of defended model prey is kin structured. Our analysis shows for most of parameter space that increased average dissimilarity from mimics has a twofold group-level cost for the model prey: it attracts more predators and these adopt more aggressive attack strategies. When mimetic resemblance and local relatedness are sufficiently high, such costs acting in the local neighbourhood may outweigh the individual benefits of dissimilarity, causing kin selection to drive the models to resemble their mimics. This requires model prey to be more common than mimics and/or well-defended, the conditions under which Batesian mimicry is thought most successful. Local relatedness makes defended prey easier targets for Batesian mimicry and is likely to stabilize the mimetic relationship over time.

RevDate: 2019-03-06
CmpDate: 2019-03-06

Hernández Blasi C, L Mondéjar (2018)

Testing the Kundera Hypothesis: Does Every Woman (But Not Every Man) Prefer Her Child to Her Mate?.

Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 16(4):1474704918808864.

The context of a famous novel by Milan Kundera (Immortality) suggests that when faced with a life-or-death situation, every woman would prefer to save her child than her husband, left hanging whether every man would do the same. We labeled this as the Kundera hypothesis, and the purpose of this study was to test it empirically as we believe it raises a thought-provoking question in evolutionary terms. Specifically, 197 college students (92 women) were presented a questionnaire where they had to make different decisions about four dilemmas about who to save (their mate or their offspring) in two hypothetical life-or-death situations: a home fire and a car crash. These dilemmas involved two different mate ages (a 25- or a 40-year-old mate) and two offspring ages (1- or a 6-year-old child). For comparative purposes, we also included complementary life-or-death dilemmas on both a sibling and an offspring, and a sibling and a cousin. The results generally supported the Kundera hypothesis: Although the majority of men and women made the decision to save their offspring instead of their mate, about 18% of men on average (unlike the 5% of women) consistently decided to save their mate across the four dilemmas in the two life-or-death situations. These data were interpreted with reference to Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory, the preferential role of women as kin keepers, and the evolution of altruism toward friends and mates.

RevDate: 2019-05-06

Fortuna TM, Namias A, Snirc A, et al (2018)

Multiple infections, relatedness and virulence in the anther-smut fungus castrating Saponaria plants.

Molecular ecology, 27(23):4947-4959.

Multiple infections (co-occurrence of multiple pathogen genotypes within an individual host) can have important impacts on diseases. Relatedness among pathogens can affect the likelihood of multiple infections and their consequences through kin selection. Previous studies on the castrating anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae have shown that multiple infections occur in its host plant Silene latifolia. Relatedness was high among fungal genotypes within plants, which could result from competitive exclusion between unrelated fungal genotypes, from population structure or from interactions between plant and fungal genotypes for infection ability. Here, we aimed at disentangling these hypotheses using M. saponariae and its host Saponaria officinalis, both experimentally tractable for these questions. By analysing populations using microsatellite markers, we also found frequent occurrence of multiple infections and high relatedness among strains within host plants. Infections resulting from experimental inoculations in the greenhouse also revealed high relatedness among strains co-infecting host plants, even in clonally replicated plant genotypes, indicating that high relatedness within plants did not result merely from plant x fungus interactions or population structure. Furthermore, hyphal growth in vitro was affected by the presence of a competitor growing nearby and by its genetic similarity, although this latter effect was strain-dependent. Altogether, our results support the hypothesis that relatedness-dependent competitive exclusion occurs in Microbotryum fungi within plants. These microorganisms can thus respond to competitors and to their level of relatedness.

RevDate: 2019-05-06
CmpDate: 2019-05-06

Dos Santos M, Ghoul M, SA West (2018)

Pleiotropy, cooperation, and the social evolution of genetic architecture.

PLoS biology, 16(10):e2006671.

Pleiotropy has been suggested as a novel mechanism for stabilising cooperation in bacteria and other microbes. The hypothesis is that linking cooperation with a trait that provides a personal (private) benefit can outweigh the cost of cooperation in situations when cooperation would not be favoured by mechanisms such as kin selection. We analysed the theoretical plausibility of this hypothesis, with analytical models and individual-based simulations. We found that (1) pleiotropy does not stabilise cooperation, unless the cooperative and private traits are linked via a genetic architecture that cannot evolve (mutational constraint); (2) if the genetic architecture is constrained in this way, then pleiotropy favours any type of trait and not especially cooperation; (3) if the genetic architecture can evolve, then pleiotropy does not favour cooperation; and (4) there are several alternative explanations for why traits may be linked, and causality can even be predicted in the opposite direction, with cooperation favouring pleiotropy. Our results suggest that pleiotropy could only explain cooperation under restrictive conditions and instead show how social evolution can shape the genetic architecture.

RevDate: 2019-04-09

Li XY, H Kokko (2019)

Sex-biased dispersal: a review of the theory.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 94(2):721-736.

Dispersal is ubiquitous throughout the tree of life: factors selecting for dispersal include kin competition, inbreeding avoidance and spatiotemporal variation in resources or habitat suitability. These factors differ in whether they promote male and female dispersal equally strongly, and often selection on dispersal of one sex depends on how much the other disperses. For example, for inbreeding avoidance it can be sufficient that one sex disperses away from the natal site. Attempts to understand sex-specific dispersal evolution have created a rich body of theoretical literature, which we review here. We highlight an interesting gap between empirical and theoretical literature. The former associates different patterns of sex-biased dispersal with mating systems, such as female-biased dispersal in monogamous birds and male-biased dispersal in polygynous mammals. The predominant explanation is traceable back to Greenwood's () ideas of how successful philopatric or dispersing individuals are at gaining mates or the resources required to attract them. Theory, however, has developed surprisingly independently of these ideas: models typically track how immigration and emigration change relatedness patterns and alter competition for limiting resources. The limiting resources are often considered sexually distinct, with breeding sites and fertilizable females limiting reproductive success for females and males, respectively. We show that the link between mating system and sex-biased dispersal is far from resolved: there are studies showing that mating systems matter, but the oft-stated association between polygyny and male-biased dispersal is not a straightforward theoretical expectation. Here, an important understudied factor is the extent to which movement is interpretable as an extension of mate-searching (e.g. are matings possible en route or do they only happen after settling in new habitat - or can females perhaps move with stored sperm). We also point out other new directions for bridging the gap between empirical and theoretical studies: there is a need to build Greenwood's influential yet verbal explanation into formal models, which also includes the possibility that an individual benefits from mobility as it leads to fitness gains in more than one final breeding location (a possibility not present in models with a very rigid deme structure). The order of life-cycle events is likewise important, as this impacts whether a departing individual leaves behind important resources for its female or male kin, or perhaps both, in the case of partially overlapping resource use.

RevDate: 2019-05-06

Amici F (2018)

Memories of emotional expressions in horses.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-018-0363-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Proops, Grounds, Smith, and McComb (2018) suggest that horses remember previous emotional expressions of specific humans, and use these memories to adjust their behavior in future social interactions. Despite some methodological shortcomings, this study raises important questions on the complexity of social interactions in nonhuman animals, which surely deserve further attention.

RevDate: 2019-03-12
CmpDate: 2019-03-12

van Veelen M (2018)

Can Hamilton's rule be violated?.

eLife, 7:.

How generally Hamilton's rule holds is a much debated question. The answer to that question depends on how costs and benefits are defined. When using the regression method to define costs and benefits, there is no scope for violations of Hamilton's rule. We introduce a general model for assortative group compositions to show that, when using the counterfactual method for computing costs and benefits, there is room for violations. The model also shows that there are limitations to observing violations in equilibrium, as the discrepancies between Hamilton's rule and the direction of selection may imply that selection will take the population out of the region of disagreement, precluding observations of violations in equilibrium. Given what it takes to create a violation, empirical tests of Hamilton's rule, both in and out of equilibrium, require the use of statistical models that allow for identifying non-linearities in the fitness function.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Rodrigues AMM (2018)

Resource availability and adjustment of social behaviour influence patterns of inequality and productivity across societies.

PeerJ, 6:e5488.

Animal societies vary widely in the diversity of social behaviour and the distribution of reproductive shares among their group members. It has been shown that individual condition can lead to divergent social roles and that social specialisation can cause an exacerbation or a mitigation of the inequality among group members within a society. This work, however, has not investigated cases in which resource availability varies between different societies, a factor that is thought to explain variation in the level of cooperation and the disparities in reproductive shares within each social group. In this study, I focus on how resource availability mediates the expression of social behaviour and how this, in turn, mediates inequality both within and between groups. I find that when differences in resource availability between societies persist over time, resource-rich societies become more egalitarian. Because lower inequality improves the productivity of a society, the inequality between resource-rich and resource-poor societies rises. When resource availability fluctuates over time, resource-rich societies tend to become more unequal. Because inequality hinders the productivity of a society, the inequality between resource-rich and resource-poor societies falls. From the evolutionary standpoint, my results show that spatial and temporal variation in resource availability may exert a strong influence on the level of inequality both within and between societies.

RevDate: 2019-05-31

Ohkubo Y, Yamamoto T, Ogusu N, et al (2018)

The benefits of grouping as a main driver of social evolution in a halictine bee.

Science advances, 4(10):e1700741.

Over the past decade, the cause of sociality has been much debated. Inclusive fitness [br in Hamilton's rule (br - c > 0)] has been criticized but is still useful in the organization of a framework by elucidating mechanisms through which br (benefit × relatedness) becomes larger than c (cost). The bee Lasioglossum baleicum is suitable for investigation of this issue because of the sympatric occurrence of both social and solitary nesting in its populations. We show that a large part (approximately 92%) of the inclusive fitness of a eusocial worker can be attributed to the benefits of grouping. A 1.5-fold relatedness asymmetry benefit in singly mated haplo-diploids explains a small part (approximately 8.5%) of the observed inclusive fitness. Sociality enables this species to conduct foraging and nest defense simultaneously, which is not the case in solitary nests. Our results indicate that this benefit of grouping is the main source of the increased inclusive fitness of eusocial workers.

RevDate: 2018-12-07

Dyble M, Gardner A, Vinicius L, et al (2018)

Inclusive fitness for in-laws.

Biology letters, 14(10):.

Cooperation among kin is common across the natural world and can be explained in terms of inclusive fitness theory, which holds that individuals can derive indirect fitness benefits from aiding genetically related individuals. However, human kinship includes not only genetic kin but also kin by marriage: our affines (in-laws) and spouses. Can cooperation between these genetically unrelated kin be reconciled with inclusive fitness theory? Here, we argue that although affinal kin and spouses do not necessarily share genetic ancestry, they may have shared genetic interests in future reproduction and, as such, can derive indirect fitness benefits though cooperating. We use standard inclusive fitness theory to derive a coefficient of shared reproductive interest (s) that predicts altruistic investment both in genetic kin and in spouses and affines. Specifically, a behaviour that reduces the fitness of the actor by c and increases the fitness of the recipient by b will be favoured by natural selection when sb > c We suggest that the coefficient of shared reproductive interest may provide a valuable tool for understanding not only the evolution of human kinship but also cooperation and conflict across the natural world more generally.

RevDate: 2018-10-31

Minkner MMI, Young C, Amici F, et al (2018)

Assessment of Male Reproductive Skew via Highly Polymorphic STR Markers in Wild Vervet Monkeys, Chlorocebus pygerythrus.

The Journal of heredity, 109(7):780-790.

Male reproductive strategies have been well studied in primate species where the ability of males to monopolize reproductive access is high. Less is known about species where males cannot monopolize mating access. Vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) are interesting in this regard as female codominance reduces the potential for male monopolization. Under this condition, we assessed whether male dominance rank still influences male mating and reproductive success, by assigning paternities to infants in a population of wild vervets in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. To determine paternity, we established microsatellite markers from noninvasive fecal samples via cross-species amplification. In addition, we evaluated male mating and reproductive success for 3 groups over 4 mating seasons. We identified 21 highly polymorphic microsatellites (number of alleles = 7.5 ± 3.1 [mean ± SD], observed heterozygosity = 0.691 ± 0.138 [mean ± SD]) and assigned paternity to 94 of 97 sampled infants (96.9%) with high confidence. Matings pooled over 4 seasons were significantly skewed across 3 groups, although skew indices were low (B index = 0.023-0.030) and mating success did not correlate with male dominance. Paternities pooled over 4 seasons were not consistently significantly skewed (B index = 0.005-0.062), with high-ranking males siring more offspring than subordinates only in some seasons. We detected 6 cases of extra-group paternity (6.4%) and 4 cases of natal breeding (4.3%). Our results suggest that alternative reproductive strategies besides priority of access for dominant males are likely to affect paternity success, warranting further investigation into the determinants of paternity among species with limited male monopolization potential.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Konrad CM, Gero S, Frasier T, et al (2018)

Kinship influences sperm whale social organization within, but generally not among, social units.

Royal Society open science, 5(8):180914.

Sperm whales have a multi-level social structure based upon long-term, cooperative social units. What role kinship plays in structuring this society is poorly understood. We combined extensive association data (518 days, during 2005-2016) and genetic data (18 microsatellites and 346 bp mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences) for 65 individuals from 12 social units from the Eastern Caribbean to examine patterns of kinship and social behaviour. Social units were clearly matrilineally based, evidenced by greater relatedness within social units (mean r = 0.14) than between them (mean r = 0.00) and uniform mtDNA haplotypes within social units. Additionally, most individuals (82.5%) had a first-degree relative in their social unit, while we found no first-degree relatives between social units. Generally and within social units, individuals associated more with their closer relatives (matrix correlations: 0.18-0.25). However, excepting a highly related pair of social units that merged over the study period, associations between social units were not correlated with kinship (p > 0.1). These results are the first to robustly demonstrate kinship's contribution to social unit composition and association preferences, though they also reveal variability in association preferences that is unexplained by kinship. Comparisons with other matrilineal species highlight the range of possible matrilineal societies and how they can vary between and even within species.

RevDate: 2019-06-09

Townsend AK, Taff CC, Jones ML, et al (2019)

Apparent inbreeding preference despite inbreeding depression in the American crow.

Molecular ecology, 28(5):1116-1126.

Although matings between relatives can have negative effects on offspring fitness, apparent inbreeding preference has been reported in a growing number of systems, including those with documented inbreeding depression. Here, we examined evidence for inbreeding depression and inbreeding preference in two populations (Clinton, New York, and Davis, California, USA) of the cooperatively breeding American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). We then compared observed inbreeding strategies with theoretical expectations for optimal, adaptive levels of inbreeding, given the inclusive fitness benefits and population-specific magnitude of inbreeding depression. We found that low heterozygosity at a panel of 33 microsatellite markers was associated with low survival probability (fledging success) and low white blood cell counts among offspring in both populations. Despite these costs, our data were more consistent with inbreeding preference than avoidance: The observed heterozygosity among 396 sampled crow offspring was significantly lower than expected if local adults were mating by random chance. This pattern was consistent across a range of spatial scales in both populations. Adaptive levels of inbreeding, given the magnitude of inbreeding depression, were predicted to be very low in the California population, whereas complete disassortative mating was predicted in the New York population. Sexual conflict might have contributed to the apparent absence of inbreeding avoidance in crows. These data add to an increasing number of examples of an "inbreeding paradox," where inbreeding appears to be preferred despite inbreeding depression.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Neupert S, Hornung M, Grenwille Millar J, et al (2018)

Learning Distinct Chemical Labels of Nestmates in Ants.

Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 12:191.

Colony coherence is essential for eusocial insects because it supports the inclusive fitness of colony members. Ants quickly and reliably recognize who belongs to the colony (nestmates) and who is an outsider (non-nestmates) based on chemical recognition cues (cuticular hydrocarbons: CHCs) which as a whole constitute a chemical label. The process of nestmate recognition often is described as matching a neural template with the label. In this study, we tested the prevailing view that ants use commonalities in the colony odor that are present in the CHC profile of all individuals of a colony or whether different CHC profiles are learned independently. We created and manipulated sub-colonies by adding one or two different hydrocarbons that were not present in the original colony odor of our Camponotus floridanus colony and later tested workers of the sub-colonies in one-on-one encounters for aggressive responses. We found that workers adjust their nestmate recognition by learning novel, manipulated CHC profiles, but still accept workers with the previous CHC profile. Workers from a sub-colony with two additional components showed aggression against workers with only one of the two components added to their CHC profile. Thus, additional components as well as the lack of a component can alter a label as "non-nestmate." Our results suggest that ants have multiple-templates to recognize nestmates carrying distinct labels. This finding is in contrast to what previously has been proposed, i.e., a widening of the acceptance range of one template. We conclude that nestmate recognition in ants is a partitioned (multiple-template) process of the olfactory system that allows discrimination and categorization of nestmates by differences in their CHC profiles. Our findings have strong implications for our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of colony coherence and task allocation because they illustrate the importance of individual experience and task associated differences in the CHC profiles that can be instructive for the organization of insect societies.

RevDate: 2019-05-17

Kazem AJN, Barth Y, Pfefferle D, et al (2018)

Parent-offspring facial resemblance increases with age in rhesus macaques.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1886):.

Kin recognition is a key ability which facilitates the acquisition of inclusive fitness benefits and enables optimal outbreeding. In primates, phenotype matching is considered particularly important for the recognition of patrilineal relatives, as information on paternity is unlikely to be available via social familiarity. Phenotypic cues to both paternal and maternal relatedness exist in the facial features of humans and other primates. However, theoretical models suggest that in systems with uncertainty parentage it may be adaptive for offspring to conceal such cues when young, in order to avoid potential costs of being discriminated against by unrelated adults. Using experienced human raters, we demonstrate in a computer-based task that detection of parent-offspring resemblances in the faces of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) increases significantly with offspring age. Moreover, this effect is specific to information about kinship, as raters were extremely successful at discriminating individuals even among the youngest animals. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence in non-humans for the age-dependent expression of visual cues used in kin recognition.

RevDate: 2019-01-30

Bawa KS, Ingty T, Revell LJ, et al (2019)

Correlated evolution of flower size and seed number in flowering plants (monocotyledons).

Annals of botany, 123(1):181-190.

Background and Aims: Kin selection theory predicts that a parent may minimize deleterious effects of competition among seeds developing within ovaries by increasing the genetic relatedness of seeds within an ovary. Alternatively, the number of developing seeds could be reduced to one or a few. It has also been suggested that single or few seeded fruits may be correlated with small flowers, and multi-ovulate ovaries or many seeded fruits may be associated with large flowers with specialized pollination mechanisms. We examined the correlation between flower size and seed number in 69 families of monocotyledons to assess if correlations are significant and independent of phylogeny.

Methods: We first examined the effect of phylogenetic history on the evolution of these two traits, flower size and seed number, and then mapped correlations between them on the latest phylogenetic tree of monocotyledons.

Results: The results provide phylogenetically robust evidence of strong correlated evolution between flower size and seed number and show that correlated evolution of traits is not constrained by phylogenetic history of taxa. Moreover, the two character combinations, small flowers and a single or few seeds per fruit, and large flowers and many seeded fruits, have persisted in monocotyledons longer than other trait combinations.

Conclusions: The analyses support the suggestion that most angiosperms may fall into two categories, one with large flowers and many seeded fruits and the other with small flowers and single or few seeded fruits, and kin selection within ovaries may explain the observed patterns.

RevDate: 2019-05-17

Downing PA, Griffin AS, CK Cornwallis (2018)

Sex differences in helping effort reveal the effect of future reproduction on cooperative behaviour in birds.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1885):.

The evolution of helping behaviour in species that breed cooperatively in family groups is typically attributed to kin selection alone. However, in many species, helpers go on to inherit breeding positions in their natal groups, but the extent to which this contributes to selection for helping is unclear as the future reproductive success of helpers is often unknown. To quantify the role of future reproduction in the evolution of helping, we compared the helping effort of female and male retained offspring across cooperative birds. The kin selected benefits of helping are equivalent between female and male helpers-they are equally related to the younger siblings they help raise-but the future reproductive benefits of helping differ because of sex differences in the likelihood of breeding in the natal group. We found that the sex which is more likely to breed in its natal group invests more in helping, suggesting that in addition to kin selection, helping in family groups is shaped by future reproduction.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Ren Y, Huang K, Guo S, et al (2018)

Kinship promotes affiliative behaviors in a monkey.

Current zoology, 64(4):441-447.

In social mammals, kinship is an important factor that often affects the interactions among individuals within groups. In primates that live in a multilevel society, kinship may affect affiliative patterns between individuals at different scales within the larger group. For this study, we use field observations and molecular methods to reveal the profiles of how kinship affects affiliative behaviors between individuals in a breeding band of wild golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana). We use a novel nonparametric test, the partition Mantel test, to measure independently the correlation between kinship and each of three affiliative behaviors. Our results show that more closely related females are more likely to groom each other. Average relatedness between adult females within the same one-male unit (OMU) is higher than that between adult females from different OMUs. We suggest that closely related females may reside in the same OMU in order to attain inclusive fitness benefits, and that kinship plays an important role in maintaining the social structure of this species.

RevDate: 2018-10-02

D'Aloia CC, MG Neubert (2018)

The formation of marine kin structure: effects of dispersal, larval cohesion, and variable reproductive success.

Ecology, 99(10):2374-2384.

The spatial distribution of relatives has profound effects on kin interactions, inbreeding, and inclusive fitness. Yet, in the marine environment, the processes that generate patterns of kin structure remain understudied because larval dispersal on ocean currents was historically assumed to disrupt kin associations. Recent genetic evidence of co-occurring siblings challenges this assumption and raises the intriguing question of how siblings are found together after a (potentially) disruptive larval phase. Here, we develop individual-based models to explore how stochastic processes operating at the individual level affect expected kinship at equilibrium. Specifically, we predict how limited dispersal, sibling cohesion, and variability in reproductive success differentially affect patterns of kin structure. All three mechanisms increase mean kinship within populations, but their spatial effects are markedly different. We find that (1) when dispersal is limited, kinship declines monotonically as a function of the distance between individuals; (2) when siblings disperse cohesively, kinship increases within a site relative to between sites; and (3) when reproductive success varies, kinship increases equally at all distances. The differential effects of these processes therefore only become apparent when individuals are sampled at multiple spatial scales. Notably, our models suggest that aggregative larval behaviors, such as sibling cohesion, are not necessary to explain documented levels of relatedness within marine populations. Together, these findings establish a theoretical framework for disentangling the drivers of marine kin structure.

RevDate: 2018-08-03

Andersson M, Åhlund M, P Waldeck (2018)

Brood parasitism, relatedness and sociality: a kinship role in female reproductive tactics.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society [Epub ahead of print].

Conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) is a reproductive tactic in which parasitic females lay eggs in nests of other females of the same species that then raise the joint brood. Parasites benefit by increased reproduction, without costs of parental care for the parasitic eggs. CBP occurs in many egg-laying animals, among birds most often in species with large clutches and self-feeding young: two major factors facilitating successful parasitism. CBP is particularly common in waterfowl (Anatidae), a group with female-biased natal philopatry and locally related females. Theory suggests that relatedness between host and parasite can lead to inclusive fitness benefits for both, but if host costs are high, parasites should instead target unrelated females. Pairwise relatedness (r) in host-parasite (h-p) pairs of females has been estimated using molecular genetic methods in seven waterfowl (10 studies). In many h-p pairs, the two females were unrelated (with low r, near the local population mean). However, close relatives (r = 0.5) were over-represented in h-p pairs, which in all 10 studies had higher mean relatedness than other females. In one species where this was studied, h-p relatedness was higher than between nesting close neighbours, and hosts parasitized by non-relatives aggressively rejected other females. In another species, birth nest-mates (mother-daughters, sisters) associated in the breeding area as adults, and became h-p pairs more often than expected by chance. These and other results point to recognition of birth nest-mates and perhaps other close relatives. For small to medium host clutch sizes, addition of a few parasitic eggs need not reduce host offspring success. Estimates in two species suggest that hosts can then gain inclusive fitness if parasitized by relatives. Other evidence of female cooperation is incubation by old eider Somateria mollissima females of clutches laid by their relatives, and merging and joint care of broods of young. Merging females tended to be more closely related. Eiders associate with kin in many situations, and in some geese and swans, related females may associate over many years. Recent genetic evidence shows that also New World quails (Odontophoridae) have female-biased natal philopatry, CBP and brood merging, inviting further study and comparison with waterfowl. Kin-related parasitism also occurs in some insects, with revealing parallels and differences compared to birds. In hemipteran bugs, receiving extra eggs is beneficial for hosts by diluting offspring predation. In eggplant lace bugs Gargaphia solani, host and parasite are closely related, and kin selection favours egg donation to related females. Further studies of kinship in CBP, brood merging and other contexts can test if some of these species are socially more advanced than presently known.

RevDate: 2019-04-04

Gleichsner AM, Reinhart K, DJ Minchella (2018)

Of mice and worms: are co-infections with unrelated parasite strains more damaging to definitive hosts?.

International journal for parasitology, 48(11):881-885.

Intraspecific competition between co-infecting parasites can influence the amount of virulence, or damage, they do to their host. Kin selection theory dictates that infections with related parasite individuals should have lower virulence than infections with unrelated individuals, because they benefit from inclusive fitness and increased host longevity. These predictions have been tested in a variety of microparasite systems, and in larval stage macroparasites within intermediate hosts, but the influence of adult macroparasite relatedness on virulence has not been investigated in definitive hosts. This study used the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni to determine whether definitive hosts infected with related parasites experience lower virulence than hosts infected with unrelated parasites, and to compare the results from intermediate host studies in this system. The presence of unrelated parasites in an infection decreased parasite infectivity, the ability of a parasite to infect a definitive host, and total worm establishment in hosts, impacting the less virulent parasite strain more severely. Unrelated parasite co-infections had similar virulence to the more virulent of the two parasite strains. We combine these findings with complementary studies of the intermediate snail host and describe trade-offs in virulence and selection within the life cycle. Damage to the host by the dominant strain was muted by the presence of a competitor in the intermediate host, but was largely unaffected in the definitive host. Our results in this host-parasite system suggest that unrelated infections may select for higher virulence in definitive hosts while selecting for lower virulence in intermediate hosts.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Espinosa A, G Paz-Y-Miño-C (2019)

Discrimination Experiments in Entamoeba and Evidence from Other Protists Suggest Pathogenic Amebas Cooperate with Kin to Colonize Hosts and Deter Rivals.

The Journal of eukaryotic microbiology, 66(2):354-368.

Entamoeba histolytica is one of the least understood protists in terms of taxa, clone, and kin discrimination/recognition ability. However, the capacity to tell apart same or self (clone/kin) from different or nonself (nonclone/nonkin) has long been demonstrated in pathogenic eukaryotes like Trypanosoma and Plasmodium, free-living social amebas (Dictyostelium, Polysphondylium), budding yeast (Saccharomyces), and in numerous bacteria and archaea (prokaryotes). Kin discrimination/recognition is explained under inclusive fitness theory; that is, the reproductive advantage that genetically closely related organisms (kin) can gain by cooperating preferably with one another (rather than with distantly related or unrelated individuals), minimizing antagonism and competition with kin, and excluding genetic strangers (or cheaters = noncooperators that benefit from others' investments in altruistic cooperation). In this review, we rely on the outcomes of in vitro pairwise discrimination/recognition encounters between seven Entamoeba lineages to discuss the biological significance of taxa, clone, and kin discrimination/recognition in a range of generalist and specialist species (close or distantly related phylogenetically). We then focus our discussion on the importance of these laboratory observations for E. histolytica's life cycle, host infestation, and implications of these features of the amebas' natural history for human health (including mitigation of amebiasis).

RevDate: 2018-07-12

Minorsky PV (2018)

The functions of foliar nyctinasty: a review and hypothesis.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society [Epub ahead of print].

Foliar nyctinasty is a plant behaviour characterised by a pronounced daily oscillation in leaf orientation. During the day, the blades of nyctinastic plant leaves (or leaflets) assume a more or less horizontal position that optimises their ability to capture sunlight for photosynthesis. At night, the positions that the leaf blades assume, regardless of whether they arise by rising, falling or twisting, are essentially vertical. Among the ideas put forth to explain the raison d'être of foliar nyctinasty are that it: (i) improves the temperature relations of plants; (ii) helps remove surface water from foliage; (iii) prevents the disruption of photoperiodism by moonlight; and (iv) directly discourages insect herbivory. After discussing these previous hypotheses, a novel tritrophic hypothesis is introduced that proposes that foliar nyctinasty constitutes an indirect plant defence against nocturnal herbivores. It is suggested that the reduction in physical clutter that follows from nocturnal leaf closure may increase the foraging success of many types of animals that prey upon or parasitise herbivores. Predators and parasitoids generally use some combination of visual, auditory or olfactory cues to detect prey. In terrestrial environments, it is hypothesised that the vertical orientation of the blades of nyctinastic plants at night would be especially beneficial to flying nocturnal predators (e.g. bats and owls) and parasitoids whose modus operandi is death from above. The movements of prey beneath a plant with vertically oriented foliage would be visually more obvious to gleaning or swooping predators under nocturnal or crepuscular conditions. Such predators could also detect sounds made by prey better without baffling layers of foliage overhead to damp and disperse the signal. Moreover, any volatiles released by the prey would diffuse more directly to the awaiting olfactory apparatus of the predators or parasitoids. In addition to facilitating the demise of herbivores by carnivores and parasitoids, foliar nyctinasty, much like the enhanced illumination of the full moon, may mitigate feeding by nocturnal herbivores by altering their foraging behaviour. Foliar nyctinasty could also provide a competitive advantage by encouraging herbivores, seeking more cover, to forage on or around non-nyctinastic species. As an added advantage, foliar nyctinasty, by decreasing the temperature between plants through its effects on re-radiation, may slow certain types of ectothermic herbivores making them more vulnerable to predation. Foliar nyctinasty also may not solely be a behavioural adaptation against folivores; by discouraging foraging by granivores, the inclusive fitness of nyctinastic plants may be increased.

RevDate: 2018-12-11
CmpDate: 2018-12-11

Bovet J, Raiber E, Ren W, et al (2018)

Parent-offspring conflict over mate choice: An experimental study in China.

British journal of psychology (London, England : 1953), 109(4):674-693.

Both parents and offspring have evolved mating preferences that enable them to select mates and children-in-law to maximize their inclusive fitness. The theory of parent-offspring conflict predicts that preferences for potential mates may differ between parents and offspring: individuals are expected to value biological quality more in their own mates than in their offspring's mates and to value investment potential more in their offspring's mates than in their own mates. We tested this hypothesis in China using a naturalistic 'marriage market' where parents actively search for marital partners for their offspring. Parents gather at a public park to advertise the characteristics of their adult children, looking for a potential son or daughter-in-law. We presented 589 parents and young adults from the city of Kunming (Yunnan, China) with hypothetical mating candidates varying in their levels of income (proxy for investment potential) and physical attractiveness (proxy for biological quality). We found some evidence of a parent-offspring conflict over mate choice, but only in the case of daughters, who evaluated physical attractiveness as more important than parents. We also found an effect of the mating candidate's sex, as physical attractiveness was deemed more valuable in a female potential mate by parents and offspring alike.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Piekarski PK, Carpenter JM, Lemmon AR, et al (2018)

Phylogenomic evidence overturns current conceptions of social evolution in wasps (Vespidae).

Molecular biology and evolution [Epub ahead of print].

The hypothesis that eusociality originated once in Vespidae has shaped interpretation of social evolution for decades and has driven the supposition that preimaginal morphophysiological differences between castes were absent at the outset of eusociality. Many researchers also consider casteless nest-sharing an antecedent to eusociality. Together, these ideas endorse a stepwise progression of social evolution in wasps (solitary → casteless nest-sharing → eusociality with rudimentary behavioral castes → eusociality with preimaginal caste-biasing → morphologically differentiated castes). Here we infer the phylogeny of Vespidae using sequence data generated via anchored hybrid enrichment from 378 loci across 136 vespid species and perform ancestral state reconstructions to test whether rudimentary and monomorphic castes characterized the initial stages of eusocial evolution. Our results reject the single origin of eusociality hypothesis, contest the supposition that eusociality emerged from a casteless nest-sharing ancestor, and suggest that eusociality in Polistinae + Vespinae began with castes having morphological differences. An abrupt appearance of castes with ontogenetically established morphophysiological differences conflicts with the current conception of stepwise social evolution and suggests that the climb up the ladder of sociality does not occur through sequential mutation. Phenotypic plasticity and standing genetic variation could explain how cooperative brood care evolved in concert with nest-sharing and how morphologically dissimilar castes arose without a rudimentary intermediate. Furthermore, preimaginal caste-biasing at the outset of eusociality implicates a subsocial route to eusociality in Polistinae + Vespinae, emphasizing the role of mother-daughter interactions and subfertility (i.e. the cost component of kin selection) in the origin of workers.

RevDate: 2018-09-05

Rodrigues AMM (2018)

Demography, life history and the evolution of age-dependent social behaviour.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 31(9):1340-1353.

Since the inception of modern social evolution theory, a vast majority of studies have sought to explain cooperation using relatedness-driven hypotheses. Natural populations, however, show a substantial amount of variation in social behaviour that is uncorrelated with relatedness. Age offers a major alternative explanation for variation in behaviour that remains unaccounted for. Most natural populations are structured into age-classes, with ageing being a nearly universal feature of most major taxa, including eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. Despite this, the theoretical underpinnings of age-dependent social behaviour remain limited. Here, I investigate how group age-composition, demography and life history shape trajectories of age-dependent behaviours that are expressed conditionally on an actor and recipient's age. I show that demography introduces novel age-dependent selective pressures acting on social phenotypes. Furthermore, I find that life history traits influence the costs and benefits of cooperation directly, but also indirectly. Life history has a strong impact not only on the genetic structure of the population but also on the distribution of group age-compositions, with both of these processes influencing the expression of age-dependent cooperation. Age of peak reproductive performance, in particular, is of chief importance for the evolution of cooperation, as this will largely determine the age and relatedness of social partners. Moreover, my results suggest that later-life reproductive senescence may occur because of demographic effects alone, which opens new vistas on the evolution of menopause and related phenomena.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Davies NG, A Gardner (2018)

Monogamy promotes altruistic sterility in insect societies.

Royal Society open science, 5(5):172190.

Monogamy is associated with sibling-directed altruism in multiple animal taxa, including insects, birds and mammals. Inclusive-fitness theory readily explains this pattern by identifying high relatedness as a promoter of altruism. In keeping with this prediction, monogamy should promote the evolution of voluntary sterility in insect societies if sterile workers make for better helpers. However, a recent mathematical population-genetics analysis failed to identify a consistent effect of monogamy on voluntary worker sterility. Here, we revisit that analysis. First, we relax genetic assumptions, considering not only alleles of extreme effect-encoding either no sterility or complete sterility-but also alleles with intermediate effects on worker sterility. Second, we broaden the stability analysis-which focused on the invasibility of populations where either all workers are fully sterile or all workers are fully reproductive-to identify where intermediate pure or mixed evolutionarily stable states may occur. Third, we consider a broader range of demographically explicit ecological scenarios relevant to altruistic worker non-reproduction and to the evolution of eusociality more generally. We find that, in the absence of genetic constraints, monogamy always promotes altruistic worker sterility and may inhibit spiteful worker sterility. Our extended analysis demonstrates that an exact population-genetics approach strongly supports the prediction of inclusive-fitness theory that monogamy promotes sib-directed altruism in social insects.

RevDate: 2019-06-10
CmpDate: 2019-04-10

Dos Santos M, SA West (2018)

The coevolution of cooperation and cognition in humans.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1879):.

Cooperative behaviours in archaic hunter-gatherers could have been maintained partly due to the gains from cooperation being shared with kin. However, the question arises as to how cooperation was maintained after early humans transitioned to larger groups of unrelated individuals. We hypothesize that after cooperation had evolved via benefits to kin, the consecutive evolution of cognition increased the returns from cooperating, to the point where benefits to self were sufficient for cooperation to remain stable when group size increased and relatedness decreased. We investigate the theoretical plausibility of this hypothesis, with both analytical modelling and simulations. We examine situations where cognition either (i) increases the benefits of cooperation, (ii) leads to synergistic benefits between cognitively enhanced cooperators, (iii) allows the exploitation of less intelligent partners, and (iv) the combination of these effects. We find that cooperation and cognition can coevolve-cooperation initially evolves, favouring enhanced cognition, which favours enhanced cooperation, and stabilizes cooperation against a drop in relatedness. These results suggest that enhanced cognition could have transformed the nature of cooperative dilemmas faced by early humans, thereby explaining the maintenance of cooperation between unrelated partners.

RevDate: 2019-04-24

Wade MJ, Fitzpatrick CL, CM Lively (2018)

50-year anniversary of Lloyd's "mean crowding": Ideas on patchy distributions.

The Journal of animal ecology, 87(5):1221-1226.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Monte B. Lloyd's "Mean Crowding" (1967) paper, in which he introduced a metric that accounts for an individual's experience of conspecific density. Mean crowding allows ecologists to measure the degree of spatial aggregation of individuals in a manner relevant to intraspecific competition for resources. We take the concept of mean crowding a step beyond its most common usage and that it has a mathematical relationship to many of the most important concepts in ecology and evolutionary biology. Mean crowding, a first-order approximation of the degree of nonrandomness in a distribution, can function as a powerful heuristic that can unify concepts across disciplines in a more general way that Lloyd originally envisioned.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Nila S, Barthes J, Crochet PA, et al (2018)

Kin Selection and Male Homosexual Preference in Indonesia.

Archives of sexual behavior, 47(8):2455-2465.

Male homosexual preference (MHP) challenges evolutionary thinking because the preference for male-male relationships is heritable, implies a fertility cost (lower offspring number), and is relatively frequent in some societies (2-6% in Western countries) for a costly trait. It has been proposed that individuals with a MHP counterbalance reproductive costs through the transfer of resources to kin, thereby improving their indirect reproduction through kin's reproductive success. This kin selection hypothesis is not supported in Western countries and Japan, although consistent evidence has been obtained in Samoa. In this study, data from Java (Indonesia) were obtained to assess the avuncular tendencies of men with contrasting sexual orientation to measure possible resource transfer. Consistent with the kin selection hypothesis, males with a homosexual orientation reported an increased willingness to transfer resources toward nephews and nieces and declared having transferred more money to nephews and nieces. We developed a method to quantitatively estimate the contribution of kin selection on inclusive reproduction associated to sexual orientation, taking into account various possible biases. Kin selection reduced the direct reproductive cost of homosexual men by 20%, so suggesting that kin selection alone is insufficient to explain the maintenance of male homosexuality. Other potential factors are discussed, as well as the limitations of the study and the social determinant operating for the expression of increased avuncular tendencies of homosexual men.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Lang SF, BJ Fowers (2019)

An expanded theory of Alzheimer's caregiving.

The American psychologist, 74(2):194-206.

The ancient and cross-culturally prevalent pattern of caregiving suggests that long-term caregiving is species characteristic for humans. If so, then an evolutionary account of the adaptation(s) that underwrite this caregiving is necessary, particularly for the one-sided and long-term nature of Alzheimer's caregiving. Four standard evolutionary explanations are evaluated: kin selection theory, the grandmother hypothesis, direct reciprocity, and indirect reciprocity. Each is found inadequate to explain caregiving because of the lack of reproductive benefits. These evolutionary accounts also assume that relationships are only valuable to the degree that they provide benefits and that relationship partners are predominantly motivated by self-interest. Attachment provides another explanation, which evolved initially to ensure infant protection and nurturance, but was exapted for important adult relationships. Attachment relationships naturally include caregiving and engender long-term relational commitment. Yet attachment theory is ambiguous about whether relationships are maintained for the sake of security benefits or because they have inherent value. This ambiguity undermines the explanatory value of attachment theory for Alzheimer's caregiving. Therefore, a shared identity theory is offered that highlights the inherent value of the relationship and the loved one, transcending the predominant focus on beneficial individual outcomes. The theory emphasizes the frequent human motivation to benefit others because of their mutual commitment, shared identity, and shared goals. The conclusion is that fully understanding and supporting the arduous efforts of caregiving for loved ones with Alzheimer's requires psychologists to fully appreciate and support the deep and meaningful motivations that often inspire the humanity seen in caregiving. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Koster J (2018)

Family ties: the multilevel effects of households and kinship on the networks of individuals.

Royal Society open science, 5(4):172159.

Among social mammals, humans uniquely organize themselves into communities of households that are centred around enduring, predominantly monogamous unions of men and women. As a consequence of this social organization, individuals maintain social relationships both within and across households, and potentially there is conflict among household members about which social ties to prioritize or de-emphasize. Extending the logic of structural balance theory, I predict that there will be considerable overlap in the social networks of individual household members, resulting in a pattern of group-level reciprocity. To test this prediction, I advance the Group-Structured Social Relations Model, a generalized linear mixed model that tests for group-level effects in the inter-household social networks of individuals. The empirical data stem from social support interviews conducted in a community of indigenous Nicaraguan horticulturalists, and model results show high group-level reciprocity among households. Although support networks are organized around kinship, covariates that test predictions of kin selection models do not receive strong support, potentially because most kin-directed altruism occurs within households, not between households. In addition, the models show that households with high genetic relatedness in part from children born to adulterous relationships are less likely to assist each other.

RevDate: 2018-06-22

Jänig S, Weiß BM, A Widdig (2018)

Comparing the sniffing behavior of great apes.

American journal of primatology, 80(6):e22872.

The importance of smell in humans is well established but we know little about it in regard to our closest relatives, the great apes, as systematic studies on their olfactory behavior are still lacking. Olfaction has long been considered to be of lesser importance in hominids given their relatively smaller olfactory bulbs, fewer functional olfactory receptor genes than other species and absence of a functional vomeronasal organ. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the use of olfaction in hominids. In particular, we observed sniffing behavior in captive groups of four species (Sumatran orangutans, Pongo abelii; Western lowland gorillas, Gorilla gorilla gorilla; Western chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes verus; bonobos, Pan paniscus) and evaluated in which contexts sniffing was used. Our results show that all investigated species frequently used the sense of smell, and that the sniffing frequency varied with species, sex, age, and context. Most sniffing events were observed in gorillas in comparison to the three other species. Sniffing frequencies were also influenced by sex, with males sniffing slightly more often than females. Furthermore, our results revealed an effect of age, with younger individuals sniffing more often than older individuals. All species mainly sniffed in the non-social context (i.e., toward food and other environmental items) rather than in the social context (i.e., at conspecifics), suggesting that the evaluation of the environment and the nutritional value of food items is of major importance to all great ape species investigated here. In contrast to the other species and female chimpanzees, however, male chimpanzees most often used olfaction to inspect their conspecifics. Together, our study suggests that olfaction is likely to be more important in great apes than previously appreciated.

RevDate: 2019-04-29
CmpDate: 2019-04-29

Boose K, White F, Brand C, et al (2018)

Infant handling in bonobos (Pan paniscus): Exploring functional hypotheses and the relationship to oxytocin.

Physiology & behavior, 193(Pt A):154-166.

Infant handling describes interactions between infants and non-maternal group members and is widespread across mammalian taxa. The expression of infant handling behaviors, defined as any affiliative or agonistic interaction between a group member and an infant, varies considerably among primate species. Several functional hypotheses may explain the adaptive value of infant handling including the Kin Selection hypothesis, which describes handling as a mechanism through which indirect fitness is increased and predicts a bias in handling behaviors directed toward related (genetic) infants; the Alliance Formation hypothesis, which describes handling as a social commodity and predicts females with infants will support handlers during conflict; and the Learning-to-Mother hypothesis, which describes handling as a mechanism through which handlers learn species-specific maternal behaviors and predicts that handling will occur most frequently in immature and nulliparous females. Using behavioral observation and data on urinary oxytocin, a neuropeptide hormone known to modulate maternal care and social bonds in mammals, the purpose of this study was to describe the pattern of infant handling in bonobos (Pan paniscus) and to explore proposed functional hypotheses. Data show that related infant-handler dyads occurred significantly more frequently than unrelated infant-handler dyads during some of the study period and that handling was positively correlated with support during conflict. Data also showed that immature and nulliparous females handled infants significantly more than other age-sex categories and exhibited higher post handling oxytocin values than other age-sex class. The trends identified in this data set provide insight into the role oxytocin may play in facilitating care-giving behaviors in young female bonobos and help to narrow the focus of future research efforts, particularly those associated with the Kin Selection, Alliance Formation, and Learning-to-Mother functional hypotheses.

RevDate: 2018-12-02
CmpDate: 2018-06-21

Lai BM, Wang MZ, DS Shen (2017)

[Bacterial quorum sensing: Cooperation and cheating].

Ying yong sheng tai xue bao = The journal of applied ecology, 28(5):1735-1742.

Quorum sensing (QS), a cell-to-cell communication, regulates a variety of social beha-viors, such as biofilm formation, public goods produce and gene horizontal transfer of bacteria. In the process of quorum sensing, public goods could be utilized by any members in the population, which was termed as cooperation. Notably, public goods also could be shared by the individuals who could not produce them, which was termed as cheating. Once cheaters come up, they possibly maintain equilibrium with cooperators, meanwhile they also possibly induce the collapse of population due to their rapid growth and shortage of public goods. Therefore, invasion of cheaters arouses wide attentions in medicine, agriculture, food science and so on regarded as a new strategy to control pathogens. In this study, based on the introduction about the theory of bacterial quorum sensing cooperation and cheating, we analyzed the factors influencing the formation and development of the relationship between cooperator and cheater. Moreover, we discussed the mechanism of stabilization in the relationship between cooperator and cheater, including kin selection, metabolic prudence, metabolic constraint (gene pleiotropy) and policing quorum sensing. Finally, some problems in current researches of quorum sensing cooperation and cheating were presented as well as the future research directions. We hoped this paper could deepen the understanding of bacterial quorum sen-sing and ecology of bacterial population.

RevDate: 2018-11-14
CmpDate: 2018-08-29

Madgwick PG, Stewart B, Belcher LJ, et al (2018)

Strategic investment explains patterns of cooperation and cheating in a microbe.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(21):E4823-E4832.

Contributing to cooperation is typically costly, while its rewards are often available to all members of a social group. So why should individuals be willing to pay these costs, especially if they could cheat by exploiting the investments of others? Kin selection theory broadly predicts that individuals should invest more into cooperation if their relatedness to group members is high (assuming they can discriminate kin from nonkin). To better understand how relatedness affects cooperation, we derived the ‟Collective Investment" game, which provides quantitative predictions for patterns of strategic investment depending on the level of relatedness. We then tested these predictions by experimentally manipulating relatedness (genotype frequencies) in mixed cooperative aggregations of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, which builds a stalk to facilitate spore dispersal. Measurements of stalk investment by natural strains correspond to the predicted patterns of relatedness-dependent strategic investment, wherein investment by a strain increases with its relatedness to the group. Furthermore, if overall group relatedness is relatively low (i.e., no strain is at high frequency in a group) strains face a scenario akin to the "Prisoner's Dilemma" and suffer from insufficient collective investment. We find that strains employ relatedness-dependent segregation to avoid these pernicious conditions. These findings demonstrate that simple organisms like D. discoideum are not restricted to being ‟cheaters" or ‟cooperators" but instead measure their relatedness to their group and strategically modulate their investment into cooperation accordingly. Consequently, all individuals will sometimes appear to cooperate and sometimes cheat due to the dynamics of strategic investing.

RevDate: 2018-11-14
CmpDate: 2018-09-20

Peters K, Worrich A, Weinhold A, et al (2018)

Current Challenges in Plant Eco-Metabolomics.

International journal of molecular sciences, 19(5):.

The relatively new research discipline of Eco-Metabolomics is the application of metabolomics techniques to ecology with the aim to characterise biochemical interactions of organisms across different spatial and temporal scales. Metabolomics is an untargeted biochemical approach to measure many thousands of metabolites in different species, including plants and animals. Changes in metabolite concentrations can provide mechanistic evidence for biochemical processes that are relevant at ecological scales. These include physiological, phenotypic and morphological responses of plants and communities to environmental changes and also interactions with other organisms. Traditionally, research in biochemistry and ecology comes from two different directions and is performed at distinct spatiotemporal scales. Biochemical studies most often focus on intrinsic processes in individuals at physiological and cellular scales. Generally, they take a bottom-up approach scaling up cellular processes from spatiotemporally fine to coarser scales. Ecological studies usually focus on extrinsic processes acting upon organisms at population and community scales and typically study top-down and bottom-up processes in combination. Eco-Metabolomics is a transdisciplinary research discipline that links biochemistry and ecology and connects the distinct spatiotemporal scales. In this review, we focus on approaches to study chemical and biochemical interactions of plants at various ecological levels, mainly plant⁻organismal interactions, and discuss related examples from other domains. We present recent developments and highlight advancements in Eco-Metabolomics over the last decade from various angles. We further address the five key challenges: (1) complex experimental designs and large variation of metabolite profiles; (2) feature extraction; (3) metabolite identification; (4) statistical analyses; and (5) bioinformatics software tools and workflows. The presented solutions to these challenges will advance connecting the distinct spatiotemporal scales and bridging biochemistry and ecology.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Bruger EL, CM Waters (2018)

Maximizing Growth Yield and Dispersal via Quorum Sensing Promotes Cooperation in Vibrio Bacteria.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 84(14):.

Quorum sensing (QS) is a form of bacterial chemical communication that regulates cellular phenotypes, including certain cooperative behaviors, in response to environmental and demographic changes. Despite the existence of proposed mechanisms that stabilize QS against defector exploitation, it is unclear if or how QS cooperators can proliferate in some model systems in populations mostly consisting of defectors. We predicted that growth in fragmented subpopulations could allow QS cooperators to invade a QS defector population. This could occur despite cooperators having lower relative fitnesses than defectors due to favored weighting of genotypes that produce larger populations of bacteria. Mixed metapopulations of Vibrio QS-proficient or unconditional cooperators and QS defectors were diluted and fragmented into isolated subpopulations in an environment that requires QS-regulated public good production to achieve larger population yields. Under these conditions, we observed global invasions of both cooperator genotypes into populations composed of primarily defectors. This spatially dependent increase in cooperator frequency was replicated for QS cooperators when mixed populations were competed in soft agar motility plates under conditions that allowed cooperators to disperse and outcompete defectors at the population edge, despite being less motile in isolation than defectors. These competition results show that the coordinated growth and dispersal of QS cooperators to additional resources is heavily favored in comparison to unconditional cooperation, and that dispersal of cooperators by motility into new environments, examined here in laboratory populations, constitutes a key mechanism for maintaining QS-regulated cooperation in the face of defection.IMPORTANCE Behaviors that are cooperative in nature are at risk of exploitation by cheating and are thus difficult to maintain by natural selection alone. While bacterial cell-cell communication, known as quorum sensing (QS), can stabilize microbial cooperative behaviors and is widespread in Vibrio species, it is unclear how QS can increase the frequency of cooperative strains in the presence of defectors without additional mechanisms. In this study, we demonstrate under multiple conditions that QS-mediated cooperation can increase in populations of Vibrio strains when cells experience narrow population bottlenecks or disperse from defectors. This occurred for both conditional cooperation mediated by QS and for unconditional cooperation, although conditional cooperators were better able to stabilize cooperation over a much wider range of conditions. Thus, we observed that population structuring allowed for assortment of competing genotypes and promoted cooperation via kin selection in microbes in a QS-dependent manner.

RevDate: 2019-03-11
CmpDate: 2019-03-11

Cords M, Minich T, Roberts SJ, et al (2018)

Evidence for paternal kin bias in the social affiliation of adult female blue monkeys.

American journal of primatology, 80(5):e22761.

If animals increase inclusive fitness by cooperating with relatives, nepotism should involve maternal and paternal kin equally, all else being equal. Evidence of a behavioral bias toward paternal half-siblings in primates is both limited and mixed, with most positive reports from papionins. To expand knowledge of paternal kin recognition, particularly in cercopithecine monkeys, we examined evidence for paternal kin bias in wild blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis), a species living mostly in one-male groups. Seasonal breeding and the amount of male reproductive skew in blue monkeys suggests that opportunities to distinguish paternal kin are plentiful, and their social system would make such discrimination beneficial. We compared spatial association and social contact (grooming and contact-sitting) of 20 adult females with at least one paternal half-sibling and at least one non-relative that were present at the same time. We used two data sets, one in which social partners were other parous females, the other in which they were juveniles. Data came from a 7-year period. When interacting with other adult females, subjects groomed and sat in contact with paternal half-siblings significantly more than with known non-kin, and there was a similar trend for spatial association. We detected no paternal kin bias in interactions with juvenile partners. Kin-biased affiliative contact with adult female partners did not appear to be based on age proximity, measured by birth cohort. The study species' social system suggests phenotype matching as the most likely alternative mechanism, though we could not test it directly. Across both behaviors, there was no significant relationship between the number of matrilineal kin a subject had and the degree to which she preferred paternal half-siblings over non-kin as affiliative partners. These findings contribute to a comparative understanding of paternal kin recognition in primates.

RevDate: 2018-07-03

Rodrigues AMM, TB Taylor (2018)

Ecological and demographic correlates of cooperation from individual to budding dispersal.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 31(7):1058-1070.

Identifying the ecological and demographic factors that promote the evolution of cooperation is a major challenge for evolutionary biologists. Explanations for the adaptive evolution of cooperation seek to determine which factors make reproduction in cooperative groups more favourable than independent breeding or other selfish strategies. A vast majority of the hypotheses posit that cooperative groups emerge in the context of philopatry, high costs of dispersal, high population density and environmental stability. This route to cooperation, however, fails to explain a growing body of empirical evidence in which cooperation is not associated with one or more of these predictors. We propose an alternative evolutionary path towards the emergence of cooperation that accounts for the disparities observed in the current literature. We find that when dispersal is mediated by a group mode of dispersal, commonly termed budding dispersal, our mathematical model reveals an association between cooperation and immigration, lower costs of dispersal, low population density and environmental variability. Furthermore, by studying the continuum from the individual to the partial and full budding mode of dispersal, we can explicitly explain why the correlates of cooperation change under budding. This enables us to outline a general model for the evolution of cooperation that accounts for a substantial amount of empirical evidence. Our results suggest that natural selection may have favoured two major contrasting pathways for the evolution of cooperation depending on a set of key ecological and demographic factors.

RevDate: 2019-06-06
CmpDate: 2019-05-28

Jiang W, Wei Y, Long Y, et al (2018)

A genetic program mediates cold-warming response and promotes stress-induced phenoptosis in C. elegans.

eLife, 7:.

How multicellular organisms respond to and are impacted by severe hypothermic stress is largely unknown. From C. elegans screens for mutants abnormally responding to cold-warming stimuli, we identify a molecular genetic pathway comprising ISY-1, a conserved uncharacterized protein, and ZIP-10, a bZIP-type transcription factor. ISY-1 gatekeeps the ZIP-10 transcriptional program by regulating the microRNA mir-60. Downstream of ISY-1 and mir-60, zip-10 levels rapidly and specifically increase upon transient cold-warming exposure. Prolonged zip-10 up-regulation induces several protease-encoding genes and promotes stress-induced organismic death, or phenoptosis, of C. elegans. zip-10 deficiency confers enhanced resistance to prolonged cold-warming stress, more prominently in adults than larvae. We conclude that the ZIP-10 genetic program mediates cold-warming response and may have evolved to promote wild-population kin selection under resource-limiting and thermal stress conditions.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Mattison SM, Seabright E, Reynolds AZ, et al (2018)

Adopted daughters and adopted daughters-in-law in Taiwan: a mortality analysis.

Royal Society open science, 5(3):171745.

Adoption is sometimes considered paradoxical from an evolutionary perspective because the costs spent supporting an adopted child would be better spent on rearing one's own. Kin selection theory is commonly used to solve this paradox, because the adoption of closely related kin contributes to the inclusive fitness of the adoptive parent. In this paper, we perform a novel test of kin selection theory in the context of adoption by asking whether adopted daughters-in-law, who contribute directly (i.e. genealogically) to the perpetuation of their adoptive families' lineages, experience lower mortality than daughters adopted for other purposes in historical Taiwan. We show that both classes of adopted daughter suffer lower mortality than biological daughters, but that the protective effect of adoption is stronger among daughters who were not adopted with the intention of perpetuating the family lineage. We speculate as to the possible benefits of such a pattern and emphasize the need to move beyond typological definitions of adoption to understand the specific costs and benefits involved in different forms of caring for others' children.

RevDate: 2019-01-09
CmpDate: 2019-01-09

Yirmiya K, Segal NL, Bloch G, et al (2018)

Prosocial and self-interested intra-twin pair behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins in the early to middle childhood transition.

Developmental science, 21(6):e12665.

Several related and complementary theoretical frameworks have been proposed to explain the existence of prosocial behavior, despite its potential fitness cost to the individual. These include kin selection theory, proposing that organisms have a propensity to help those to whom they are genetically related, and reciprocity, referring to the benefit of being prosocial, depending on past and future mutual interactions. A useful paradigm to examine prosociality is to compare mean levels of this behavior between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins. Here, we examined the performance of 883 6.5-year-old twins (139 MZ and 302 DZ same-sex 6.5-year-old full twin pairs) in the Differential Productivity Task. In this task, the twins' behaviors were observed under two conditions: working for themselves vs. working for their co-twin. There were no significant differences between the performances of MZ and DZ twins in the prosocial condition of the task. Correlations within the twin dyads were significantly higher in MZ than DZ twins in the self-interested condition. However, similar MZ and DZ correlations were found in the prosocial condition, supporting the role of reciprocity in twins' prosociality towards each other.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bebbington K, Fairfield EA, Spurgin LG, et al (2018)

Joint care can outweigh costs of nonkin competition in communal breeders.

Behavioral ecology : official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 29(1):169-178.

Competition between offspring can greatly influence offspring fitness and parental investment decisions, especially in communal breeders where unrelated competitors have less incentive to concede resources. Given the potential for escalated conflict, it remains unclear what mechanisms facilitate the evolution of communal breeding among unrelated females. Resolving this question requires simultaneous consideration of offspring in noncommunal and communal nurseries, but such comparisons are missing. In the Seychelles warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis, we compare nestling pairs from communal nests (2 mothers) and noncommunal nests (1 mother) with singleton nestlings. Our results indicate that increased provisioning rate can act as a mechanism to mitigate the costs of offspring rivalry among nonkin. Increased provisioning in communal broods, as a consequence of having 2 female parents, mitigates any elevated costs of offspring rivalry among nonkin: per-capita provisioning and survival was equal in communal broods and singletons, but lower in noncommunal broods. Individual offspring costs were also more divergent in noncommunal broods, likely because resource limitation exacerbates differences in competitive ability between nestlings. It is typically assumed that offspring rivalry among nonkin will be more costly because offspring are not driven by kin selection to concede resources to their competitors. Our findings are correlational and require further corroboration, but may help explain the evolutionary maintenance of communal breeding by providing a mechanism by which communal breeders can avoid these costs.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Mukai H, Hironaka M, Tojo S, et al (2018)

Maternal hatching synchronization in a subsocial burrower bug mitigates the risk of future sibling cannibalism.

Ecology and evolution, 8(6):3376-3381.

Sibling cannibalism-the killing and consumption of conspecifics within broods-carries a high risk of direct and inclusive fitness loss for parents and offspring. We reported previously that a unique vibrational behavior shown by the mother of the subsocial burrower bug, Adomerus rotundus (Heteroptera: Cydnidae), induced synchronous hatching. Maternal regulation may be one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing or limiting sibling cannibalism. Here, we tested the hypothesis that synchronous hatching induced by maternal vibration in A. rotundus prevents sibling cannibalism. Mothers and their mature egg masses were allocated to three groups: synchronous hatching by maternal vibration (SHmv), synchronous hatching by artificial vibration (SHav), and asynchronous hatching (AH). We then investigated the influence of each hatching strategy on the occurrence of sibling cannibalism of eggs and early-instar nymphs in the laboratory. No difference in the proportion of eggs cannibalized was observed among the three groups. However, the proportion of nymphs cannibalized was higher in the AH group than in the SHmv group. The difference in the number of days to first molting within clutch was significantly higher in the AH group than in the SHmv group. Junior nymphs were sometimes eaten by senior nymphs. However, immediately after molting, senior nymphs were at a high risk of being eaten by junior nymphs. Our results indicate that synchronous hatching of A. rotundus is necessary to mitigate the risk of sibling cannibalism.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Best R, Ruxton GD, A Gardner (2018)

Intragroup and intragenomic conflict over chemical defense against predators.

Ecology and evolution, 8(6):3322-3329.

Insects are often chemically defended against predators. There is considerable evidence for a group-beneficial element to their defenses, and an associated potential for individuals to curtail their own investment in costly defense while benefitting from the investments of others, termed "automimicry." Although females in chemically defended taxa often lay their eggs in clusters, leading to siblings living in close proximity, current models of automimicry have neglected kin-selection effects, which may be expected to curb the evolution of such selfishness. Here, we develop a general theory of automimicry that explicitly incorporates kin selection. We investigate how female promiscuity modulates intragroup and intragenomic conflicts overinvestment into chemical defense, finding that individuals are favored to invest less than is optimal for their group, and that maternal-origin genes favor greater investment than do paternal-origin genes. We translate these conflicts into readily testable predictions concerning gene expression patterns and the phenotypic consequences of genomic perturbations, and discuss how our results may inform gene discovery in relation to economically important agricultural products.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Weiß BM, Kücklich M, Thomsen R, et al (2018)

Chemical composition of axillary odorants reflects social and individual attributes in rhesus macaques.

Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, 72(4):65.

Abstract: Scents play an important role in the life of most terrestrial mammals and may transmit valuable information about conspecifics. Olfaction was long considered of low importance in Old World monkeys due to their relative reduction of olfactory structures and low incidence of scent-marking behavior but has been increasingly recognized for mediating social relationships in recent years. Yet, studies investigating the composition of their chemical cues remain scarce. In the present study, we analyzed the potential information content of chemicals present on the skin of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). We collected axillary secretions from 60 animals of the semifree-ranging population on Cayo Santiago (Puerto Rico, USA) with precleaned cotton swabs from which the secretions were subsequently extracted and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Rhesus macaque axillary odorants varied in their overall similarity and composition. This variation was attributable to differences in sex, group membership, and kinship and further appeared to reflect age and rank in parts of our sample. The compounds most strongly associated with this variation primarily comprised larger molecular weight aldehydes and steroids. Such compounds are considered to be perceivable by the primate olfactory system through close-range interactions or through breakdown into smaller molecules by bacterial fermentation. Overall, our results provide additional evidence that odors of Old World monkeys reflect a wealth of potential information about their carrier, which provides the basis for chemical communication via body odors; however, its use by conspecifics needs to be confirmed in bioassays.

Significance statement: One prerequisite for olfactory communication is the presence of systematic variation in animal odors that is related to attributes such as age, sex, or kinship. The composition of odors has been examined in numerous mammals but, with the exception of humans, remains poorly understood in Old World monkeys and apes, taxonomic groups in which most species do not show scent-marking behavior. In the present study, we show that the composition of axillary secretions of an Old World monkey, the rhesus macaque, reflects sex, group membership, relatedness, and possibly also age and rank. This variation thus provides a basis for olfactory communication in Old World monkeys.

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ESP Quick Facts

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Selected Bibliographies

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