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Bibliography on: Kin Selection

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 27 May 2022 at 01:45 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®)

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RevDate: 2022-05-24
CmpDate: 2022-04-14

Levy M, AW Lo (2022)

Hamilton's rule in economic decision-making.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(16):e2108590119.

Hamilton’s rule [W. D. Hamilton, Am. Nat. 97, 354–356 (1963); W. D. Hamilton, J. Theor. Biol. 7, 17–52 (1964)] quantifies the central evolutionary ideas of inclusive fitness and kin selection into a simple algebraic relationship. Evidence consistent with Hamilton’s rule is found in many animal species. A drawback of investigating Hamilton’s rule in these species is that one can estimate whether a given behavior is consistent with the rule, but a direct examination of the exact cutoff for altruistic behavior predicted by Hamilton is almost impossible. However, to the degree that economic resources confer survival benefits in modern society, Hamilton’s rule may be applicable to economic decision-making, in which case techniques from experimental economics offer a way to determine this cutoff. We employ these techniques to examine whether Hamilton’s rule holds in human decision-making, by measuring the dependence between an experimental subject’s maximal willingness to pay for a gift of $50 to be given to someone else and the genetic relatedness of the subject to the gift’s recipient. We find good agreement with the predictions of Hamilton’s rule. Moreover, regression analysis of the willingness to pay versus genetic relatedness, the number of years living in the same residence, age, and sex shows that almost all the variation is explained by genetic relatedness. Similar but weaker results are obtained from hypothetical questions regarding the maximal risk to her own life that the subject is willing to take in order to save the recipient’s life.

RevDate: 2022-05-20

Fouilloux CA, Fromhage L, Valkonen JK, et al (2022)

Size-dependent aggression towards kin in a cannibalistic species.

Behavioral ecology : official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 33(3):582-591 pii:arac020.

In juveniles extreme intraspecies aggression can seem counter-intuitive, as it might endanger their developmental goal of surviving until reproductive stage. Ultimately, aggression can be vital for survival, although the factors (e.g., genetic or environmental) leading to the expression and intensity of this behavior vary across taxa. Attacking (and sometimes killing) related individuals may reduce inclusive fitness; as a solution to this problem, some species exhibit kin discrimination and preferentially attack unrelated individuals. Here, we used both experimental and modeling approaches to consider how physical traits (e.g., size in relation to opponent) and genetic relatedness mediate aggression in dyads of cannibalistic Dendrobates tinctorius tadpoles. We paired full-sibling, half-sibling, and non-sibling tadpoles of different sizes together in an arena and recorded their aggression and activity. We found that the interaction between relative size and relatedness predicts aggressive behavior: large individuals in non-sibling dyads are significantly more aggressive than large individuals in sibling dyads. Unexpectedly, although siblings tended to attack less overall, in size-mismatched pairs they attacked faster than in non-sibling treatments. Using a theoretical model to complement these empirical findings, we propose that larval aggression reflects a balance between relatedness and size where individuals trade-off their own fitness with that of their relatives. Lay SummaryBefore you eat someone, you have to attack them first. Here, we investigated the factors that shape aggression in the cannibalistic tadpoles of the dyeing poison frog. We find that aggression depends on both size and relatedness: when set in pairs, large tadpoles are half as aggressive towards their smaller siblings than to nonsibs. It looks like belonging to the same family provides some protection against aggression, though no one is ever truly safe.

RevDate: 2022-05-13

Roper M, Sturrock NJ, Hatchwell BJ, et al (2022)

Individual variation explains ageing patterns in a cooperatively breeding bird, the long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus).

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

1. Alloparental care in cooperatively-breeding species may alter breeder age-specific survival and reproduction, and subsequently senescence. The helping behaviour itself might also undergo age-related change, and decisions to help in facultative cooperative breeders are likely to be affected by individual condition. 2. Helpers in long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus) assist relatives after failing to raise their own brood, with offspring from helped nests being more likely to recruit into the breeding population. 3. Using data collected over 25 years, we examined the age-trajectories of survival and reproduction in adult long-tailed tits to determine how these were affected by the presence or absence of helpers, and how helper behaviour changed with age. 4. There was evidence for increased reproductive performance with breeder age, but no effect of age on the probability of survival. We found no evidence of significant senescent decline in survival or reproductive performance, although individuals accrued less inclusive fitness in their last year of life. Lifetime reproductive success was positively related to both reproductive lifespan and body mass. Within a season, breeders that were assisted by helpers enjoyed greater reproductive success through enhanced offspring recruitment in the following year. We found no evidence that age affected an individual's propensity to help, or the amount of indirect fitness accrued through helping. 5. We found a positive correlation between lifespan and multiple components of reproductive success, suggesting that individual variation in quality underpins age-related variation in fitness in this species. Helping decisions are driven by condition, and lifetime inclusive fitness of immigrants was predicted by body mass. These findings further support individual heterogeneity in quality being a major driver for fitness gains across the life course of long-tailed tits.

RevDate: 2022-04-20

Tuominen LS, Helle S, Helanterä H, et al (2022)

Structural equation modeling reveals decoupling of ecological and self-perceived outcomes in a garden box social-ecological system.

Scientific reports, 12(1):6425.

It is well known that green urban commons enhance mental and physical well-being and improve local biodiversity. We aim to investigate how these outcomes are related in an urban system and which variables are associated with better outcomes. We model the outcomes of an urban common-box gardening-by applying the Social-Ecological Systems (SES) framework. We expand the SES framework by analyzing it from the perspective of social evolution theory. The system was studied empirically through field inventories and questionnaires and modeled quantitatively by Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This method offers powerful statistical models of complex social-ecological systems. Our results show that objectively evaluated ecological outcomes and self-perceived outcomes are decoupled: gardening groups that successfully govern the natural resource ecologically do not necessarily report many social, ecological, or individual benefits, and vice versa. Social capital, box location, gardener concerns, and starting year influenced the changes in the outcomes. In addition, the positive association of frequent interactions with higher self-perceived outcomes, and lack of such association with relatedness of group members suggests that reciprocity rather than kin selection explains cooperation. Our findings exemplify the importance of understanding natural resource systems at a very low "grassroot" level.

RevDate: 2022-04-18

Marquez-Rosado A, Garcia-Co C, Londoño-Nieto C, et al (2022)

No evidence that relatedness or familiarity modulates male harm in Drosophila melanogaster flies from a wild population.

Ecology and evolution, 12(4):e8803 pii:ECE38803.

Sexual selection frequently promotes the evolution of aggressive behaviors that help males compete against their rivals, but which may harm females and hamper their fitness. Kin selection theory predicts that optimal male-male competition levels can be reduced when competitors are more genetically related to each other than to the population average, contributing to resolve this sexual conflict. Work in Drosophila melanogaster has spearheaded empirical tests of this idea, but studies so far have been conducted in laboratory-adapted populations in homogeneous rearing environments that may hamper kin recognition, and used highly skewed sex ratios that may fail to reflect average natural conditions. Here, we performed a fully factorial design with the aim of exploring how rearing environment (i.e., familiarity) and relatedness affect male-male aggression, male harassment, and overall male harm levels in flies from a wild population of Drosophila melanogaster, under more natural conditions. Namely, we (a) manipulated relatedness and familiarity so that larvae reared apart were raised in different environments, as is common in the wild, and (b) studied the effects of relatedness and familiarity under average levels of male-male competition in the field. We show that, contrary to previous findings, groups of unrelated-unfamiliar males were as likely to fight with each other and harass females than related-familiar males and that overall levels of male harm to females were similar across treatments. Our results suggest that the role of kin selection in modulating sexual conflict is yet unclear in Drosophila melanogaster, and call for further studies that focus on natural populations and realistic socio-sexual and ecological environments.

RevDate: 2022-04-16

Taylor JH, ZA Grieb (2022)

Species differences in the effect of oxytocin on maternal behavior: A model incorporating the potential for allomaternal contributions.

Frontiers in neuroendocrinology pii:S0091-3022(22)00019-X [Epub ahead of print].

Oxytocin has historically been linked to processes involved with maternal behavior. However, the relative importance of oxytocin for maternal behavior widely varies among mammalian species, from indispensable to apparently nonessential. This review proposes a new model in which the relative importance of oxytocin for mothering across species is explained by an evolutionary pressure which we term "allomaternal potential", or the degree to which other conspecifics are capable and likely to assist with caregiving. It is notable that in animals where allomaternal potential is high (i.e., many quality helpers are available), oxytocin is decoupled from mothering. However, in animals where allomaternal potential is low (i.e., conspecifics refuse to, or do not provide, quality help), oxytocin is crucial for mothering. We posit that this relationship is a form of kin selection, whereby oxytocin is a signal that leads mothers to preferentially dispense resources to their own young when quality helpers are unlikely.

RevDate: 2022-04-10

Straub L, Strobl V, Bruckner S, et al (2022)

Buffered fitness components: Antagonism between malnutrition and an insecticide in bumble bees.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(22)02191-X [Epub ahead of print].

Global insect biodiversity declines due to reduced fitness are linked to interactions between environmental stressors. In social insects, inclusive fitness depends on successful mating of reproductives, i.e. males and queens, and efficient collaborative brood care by workers. Therefore, interactive effects between malnutrition and environmental pollution on sperm and feeding glands (hypopharyngeal glands (HPGs)) would provide mechanisms for population declines, unless buffered against due to their fitness relevance. However, while negative effects for bumble bee colony fitness are known, the effects of malnutrition and insecticide exposure singly and in combination on individuals are poorly understood. Here we show, in a fully-crossed laboratory experiment, that malnutrition and insecticide exposure result in neutral or antagonistic interactions for spermatozoa and HPGs of bumble bees, Bombus terrestris, suggesting strong selection to buffer key colony fitness components. No significant effects were observed for mortality and consumption, but significant negative effects were revealed for spermatozoa traits and HPGs. The combined effects on these parameters were not higher than the individual stressor effects, which indicates an antagonistic interaction between both. Despite the clear potential for additive effects, due to the individual stressors impairing muscle quality and neurological control, simultaneous malnutrition and insecticide exposure surprisingly did not reveal an increased impact compared to individual stressors, probably due to key fitness traits being resilient. Our data support that stressor interactions require empirical tests on a case-by-case basis and need to be regarded in context to understand underlying mechanisms and so adequately mitigate the ongoing decline of the entomofauna.

RevDate: 2022-04-04

Mullon C, L Lehmann (2022)

Evolution of warfare by resource raiding favours polymorphism in belligerence and bravery.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 377(1851):20210136.

From protists to primates, intergroup aggression and warfare over resources have been observed in several taxa whose populations typically consist of groups connected by limited genetic mixing. Here, we model the coevolution between four traits relevant to this setting: (i) investment into common-pool resource production within groups (helping); (ii) proclivity to raid other groups to appropriate their resources (belligerence); and investments into (iii) defense and (iv) offense of group contests (defensive and offensive bravery). We show that when traits coevolve, the population often experiences disruptive selection favouring two morphs: 'Hawks', who express high levels of both belligerence and offensive bravery; and 'Doves', who express neither. This social polymorphism involves further among-traits associations when the fitness costs of helping and bravery interact. In particular, if helping is antagonistic with both forms of bravery, coevolution leads to the coexistence of individuals that either: (i) do not participate into common-pool resource production but only in its defense and appropriation (Scrounger Hawks) or (ii) only invest into common pool resource production (Producer Doves). Provided groups are not randomly mixed, these findings are robust to several modelling assumptions. This suggests that inter-group aggression is a potent mechanism in favouring within-group social diversity and behavioural syndromes. This article is part of the theme issue 'Intergroup conflict across taxa'.

RevDate: 2022-04-04

Rodrigues AMM, Barker JL, EJH Robinson (2022)

From inter-group conflict to inter-group cooperation: insights from social insects.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 377(1851):20210466.

The conflict between social groups is widespread, often imposing significant costs across multiple groups. The social insects make an ideal system for investigating inter-group relationships, because their interaction types span the full harming-helping continuum, from aggressive conflict, to mutual tolerance, to cooperation between spatially separate groups. Here we review inter-group conflict in the social insects and the various means by which they reduce the costs of conflict, including individual or colony-level avoidance, ritualistic behaviours and even group fusion. At the opposite extreme of the harming-helping continuum, social insect groups may peacefully exchange resources and thus cooperate between groups in a manner rare outside human societies. We discuss the role of population viscosity in favouring inter-group cooperation. We present a model encompassing intra- and inter-group interactions, and local and long-distance dispersal. We show that in this multi-level population structure, the increased likelihood of cooperative partners being kin is balanced by increased kin competition, such that neither cooperation (helping) nor conflict (harming) is favoured. This model provides a baseline context in which other intra- and inter-group processes act, tipping the balance toward or away from conflict. We discuss future directions for research into the ecological factors shaping the evolution of inter-group interactions. This article is part of the theme issue 'Intergroup conflict across taxa'.

RevDate: 2022-03-31

Scheiner SM, Barfield M, RD Holt (2022)

The factors that favor adaptive habitat construction versus non-adaptive environmental conditioning.

Ecology and evolution, 12(3):e8763 pii:ECE38763.

Adaptive habitat construction is a process by which individuals alter their environment so as to increase their (inclusive) fitness. Such alterations are a subset of the myriad ways that individuals condition their environment. We present an individual-based model of habitat construction to explore what factors might favor selection when the benefits of environmental alterations are shared by individuals of the same species. Our results confirm the predictions of inclusive fitness and group selection theory and expectations based on previous models that construction will be more favored when its benefits are more likely to be directed to self or near kin. We found that temporal variation had no effect on the evolution of construction. For spatial heterogeneity, construction was disfavored when the spatial pattern of movement did not match the spatial pattern of environmental heterogeneity, especially when there was spatial heterogeneity in the optimal amount of construction. Under those conditions, very strong selection was necessary to favor genetic differentiation of construction propensity among demes. We put forth a constitutive theory for the evolution of adaptive habitat construction that unifies our model with previous verbal and quantitative models into a formal conceptual framework.

RevDate: 2022-03-24

Radford JM, Chen D, Chernyshova AM, et al (2022)

Differential Selection on Caste-Associated Genes in a Subterranean Termite.

Insects, 13(3): pii:insects13030224.

Analyzing the information-rich content of RNA can help uncover genetic events associated with social insect castes or other social polymorphisms. Here, we exploit a series of cDNA libraries previously derived from whole-body tissue of different castes as well as from three behaviourally distinct populations of the Eastern subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes. We found that the number (~0.5 M) of single nucleotide variants (SNVs) was roughly equal between nymph, worker and soldier caste libraries, but dN/dS (ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions) analysis suggested that some of these variants confer a caste-specific advantage. Specifically, the dN/dS ratio was high (~4.3) for genes expressed in the defensively specialized soldier caste, relative to genes expressed by other castes (~1.7-1.8) and regardless of the North American population (Toronto, Raleigh, Boston) from which the castes were sampled. The populations, meanwhile, did show a large difference in SNV count but not in the manner expected from known demographic and behavioural differences; the highly invasive unicolonial population from Toronto was not the least diverse and did not show any other unique substitution patterns, suggesting any past bottleneck associated with invasion or with current unicoloniality has become obscured at the RNA level. Our study raises two important hypotheses relevant to termite sociobiology. First, the positive selection (dN/dS > 1) inferred for soldier-biased genes is presumably indirect and of the type mediated through kin selection, and second, the behavioural changes that accompany some social insect urban invasions (i.e., 'unicoloniality') may be detached from the loss-of-diversity expected from invasion bottlenecks.

RevDate: 2022-03-09

Kanwal J, A Gardner (2022)

Population viscosity promotes altruism under density-dependent dispersal.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1970):20212668.

A basic mechanism of kin selection is population viscosity, whereby individuals do not move far from their place of birth and hence tend to be surrounded by relatives. In such circumstances, even indiscriminate altruism among neighbours will often involve interactions between kin, which has a promoting effect on the evolution of altruism. This has the potential to explain altruistic behaviour across the whole tree of life, including in taxa for which recognition of kin is implausible. However, population viscosity may also intensify resource competition among kin, which has an inhibitory effect on altruism. Indeed, in the simplest scenario, in which individuals disperse with a fixed probability, these two effects have been shown to exactly cancel such that there is no net impact of viscosity on altruism. Here, we show that if individuals are able to disperse conditionally upon local density, they are favoured to do so, with more altruistic neighbourhoods exhibiting a higher rate of dispersal and concomitant relaxation of kin competition. Comparing across different populations or species, this leads to a negative correlation between overall levels of dispersal and altruism. We demonstrate both analytically and using individual-based simulations that population viscosity promotes the evolution of altruism under density-dependent dispersal.

RevDate: 2022-03-07

Lerdau M (2022)

The complicated legacy of E. O. Wilson with respect to genetics and human behavior.

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

Over the arc of his career, E. O. Wilson first embraced, then popularized, and finally rejected an extreme genetical hereditarian view of human nature. The controversy that ensured during the period of popularization (largely in the 1970s and 1980s) obscured the fact that empirical and theoretical research during this time undercut the assumptions necessary for this view. By the end of his career, Wilson accepted the fact that individual/kin selection models were insufficient to explain human behavior and society, and he began conducting research based upon multilevel (group) selection, an idea he had previously scorned.

RevDate: 2022-02-28

Maley CC, S Seyedi (2022)

The life history theory of the Lord of the Rings: a randomized controlled trial of using fact versus fiction to teach life history theory.

Evolution, 15(1):2.

Does asking students to apply concepts from evolution to a fictional context, compared to a novel biological context, improve their understanding, exam performance or enjoyment of the material? Or does it harm their education by taking time away from true biology? At our institution, we sometimes ask students to apply life history theory to species from fictional movies, television shows or books. Previously, we had used a factual article on life history theory, to supplement our textbook. We wrote an alternative introduction to life history theory (included in the additional files for educational use), using Tolkien's fictional species from his Lord of the Rings books. We also introduce the biological species definition, sexual selection, sexual dimorphism, kin selection, and the handicap principle, as those concepts arose naturally in the discussion of the fictional species. Life history theory predicts strong correlations between traits affecting reproduction, growth and survival, which are all shaped by the ecology of the species. Thus, we can teach life history theory by asking students to infer traits and aspects of the ecology of a fictional species that have never been described, based on the partial information included in the fictional sources. In a large, third year undergraduate evolution course at Arizona State University, we randomized 16 tutorial sections of a total of 264 students to either read our article on the life history theory of Lord of the Rings, or the factual article we had used previously in the course. We found that the exam performance on life history questions for the two groups were almost identical, except that fans of The Lord of the Rings who had read our article did better on the exam. Enjoyment, engagement and interest in life history theory was approximately a full point higher on a 5-point Likert scale for the students that had read the fictional article, and was highly statistically significantly different (T-test p < 0.001 for all questions). There was no difference between the two groups in their familiarity or enjoyment of The Lord of the Rings stories themselves. Reading the article that taught life history theory by applying it to the species of The Lord of the Rings neither helped nor harmed exam performance, but did significantly improve student enjoyment, engagement and interest in life history theory, and even improved exam scores in students who liked The Lord of the Rings. Using fiction to teach science may also help to engage non-traditional students, such as world-builders, outside of our institutions of education. By encouraging students to apply the scientific ideas to their favorite stories from their own cultures, we may be able to improve both inclusivity and education.

Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12052-022-00160-8.

RevDate: 2022-02-23

Shah SS, DR Rubenstein (2022)

Prenatal environmental conditions underlie alternative reproductive tactics that drive the formation of a mixed-kin cooperative society.

Science advances, 8(8):eabk2220.

Although animal societies often evolve due to limited natal dispersal that results in kin clustering and facilitates cooperation among relatives, many species form cooperative groups with low kin structure. These groups often comprise residents and immigrants of the same sex that compete for breeding opportunities. To understand how these mixed-kin societies form, we investigated the causes and fitness consequences of dispersal decisions in male cooperatively breeding superb starlings (Lamprotornis superbus) inhabiting a climatically unpredictable environment. We show that the two alternative reproductive tactics-natal dispersal or philopatry-exhibit reproductive trade-offs resulting in equivalent lifetime inclusive fitness. Unexpectedly, an individual's tactic is related to the prenatal environment its parents experience before laying rather than the environment it experiences as a juvenile. Individuals that adopt the tactic not predicted by prenatal environmental conditions have lower fitness. Ultimately, climate-driven oscillating selection appears to stabilize mixed-kin societies despite the potential for social conflict.

RevDate: 2022-02-23

Belcher LJ, Dewar AE, Ghoul M, et al (2022)

Kin selection for cooperation in natural bacterial populations.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(9):.

Bacteria produce a range of molecules that are secreted from the cell and can provide a benefit to the local population of cells. Laboratory experiments have suggested that these "public goods" molecules represent a form of cooperation, favored because they benefit closely related cells (kin selection). However, there is a relative lack of data demonstrating kin selection for cooperation in natural populations of bacteria. We used molecular population genetics to test for signatures of kin selection at the genomic level in natural populations of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa We found consistent evidence from multiple traits that genes controlling putatively cooperative traits have higher polymorphism and greater divergence and are more likely to harbor deleterious mutations relative to genes controlling putatively private traits, which are expressed at similar rates. These patterns suggest that cooperative traits are controlled by kin selection, and we estimate that the relatedness for social interactions in P. aeruginosa is r = 0.84. More generally, our results demonstrate how molecular population genetics can be used to study the evolution of cooperation in natural populations.

RevDate: 2022-02-16

Helle S, Tanskanen AO, Coall DA, et al (2022)

Matrilateral bias of grandparental investment in grandchildren persists despite the grandchildren's adverse early life experiences.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1969):20212574.

Evolutionary theory predicts a downward flow of investment from older to younger generations, representing individual efforts to maximize inclusive fitness. Maternal grandparents and maternal grandmothers (MGMs) in particular consistently show the highest levels of investment (e.g. time, care and resources) in their grandchildren. Grandparental investment overall may depend on social and environmental conditions that affect the development of children and modify the benefits and costs of investment. Currently, the responses of grandparents to adverse early life experiences (AELEs) in their grandchildren are assessed from a perspective of increased investment to meet increased need. Here, we formulate an alternative prediction that AELEs may be associated with reduced grandparental investment, as they can reduce the reproductive value of the grandchildren. Moreover, we predicted that paternal grandparents react more strongly to AELEs compared to maternal grandparents because maternal kin should expend extra effort to invest in their descendants. Using population-based survey data for English and Welsh adolescents, we found evidence that the investment of maternal grandparents (MGMs in particular) in their grandchildren was unrelated to the grandchildren's AELEs, while paternal grandparents invested less in grandchildren who had experienced more AELEs. These findings seemed robust to measurement errors in AELEs and confounding due to omitted shared causes.

RevDate: 2022-02-14

Fox M, KS Wiley (2022)

How a pregnant woman's relationships with her siblings relate to her mental health: a prenatal allocare perspective.

Evolution, medicine, and public health, 10(1):1-20 pii:eoab044.

Background: In cooperatively breeding species, individuals may promote their inclusive fitness through allomothering. Humans exhibit some features of cooperative breeding, and previous studies have focused on allomothering by grandparents and juvenile siblings in the postnatal period. We hypothesize that a pregnant woman's relationships with her siblings (offspring's maternal aunts and uncles) are beneficial for maternal affect in ways that can enhance the siblings' inclusive fitness. Maternal affect during pregnancy is a salient target of allocare given the detrimental effects of antepartum mood disorders on birth and infant outcomes.

Methodology: We test our hypotheses in a cohort of pregnant Latina women in Southern California (N = 201). Predictor variables of interest include number of siblings a participant has, if she has sisters, frequency of seeing siblings, and frequency of communication with siblings. Outcome variables measuring maternal affect include depression, state anxiety, pregnancy-related anxiety and perceived stress.

Results: Having at least one sister and greater frequency of communication with siblings were associated with fewer depressive symptoms during pregnancy. No significant associations were found between sibling variables and other measures of affect.

Conclusion and implications: Results suggest that how frequently you communicate with, and not how often you see, siblings could be protective against risk of antepartum depression. Sibling allomothering could impart effects through social-emotional support rather than instrumental support, as a strategy to benefit the prenatal environment in which future nieces and nephews develop. Allomothering may be particularly important in cultural contexts that value family relationships. Future studies should investigate other communities.

RevDate: 2022-01-25

Roth JD, Dobson FS, Neuhaus P, et al (2022)

Territorial scent-marking effects on vigilance behavior, space use, and stress in female Columbian ground squirrels.

Hormones and behavior, 139:105111 pii:S0018-506X(22)00005-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Social environments can profoundly affect the behavior and stress physiology of group-living animals. In many territorial species, territory owners advertise territorial boundaries to conspecifics by scent marking. Several studies have investigated the information that scent marks convey about donors' characteristics (e.g., dominance, age, sex, reproductive status), but less is known about whether scents affect the behavior and stress of recipients. We experimentally tested the hypothesis that scent marking may be a potent source of social stress in territorial species. We tested this hypothesis for Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) during lactation, when territorial females defend individual nest-burrows against conspecifics. We exposed lactating females, on their territory, to the scent of other lactating females. Scents were either from unfamiliar females, kin relatives (a mother, daughter, or sister), or their own scent (control condition). We expected females to react strongly to novel scents from other females on their territory, displaying increased vigilance, and higher cortisol levels, indicative of behavioral and physiological stress. We further expected females to be more sensitive to unfamiliar female scents than to kin scents, given the matrilineal social structure of this species and known fitness benefits of co-breeding in female kin groups. Females were highly sensitive to intruder (both unfamiliar and kin) scents, but not to their own scent. Surprisingly, females reacted more strongly to the scent of close kin than to the scent of unfamiliar females. Vigilance behavior increased sharply in the presence of scents; this increase was more marked for kin than unfamiliar female scents, and was mirrored by a marked 131% increase in free plasma cortisol levels in the presence of kin (but not unfamiliar female) scents. Among kin scents, lactating females were more vigilant to the scent of sisters of equal age, but showed a marked 318% increase in plasma free cortisol levels in response to the scent of older and more dominant mothers. These results suggest that scent marks convey detailed information on the identity of intruders, directly affecting the stress axis of territory holders.

RevDate: 2022-01-11

Shimoji H, S Dobata (2022)

The build-up of dominance hierarchies in eusocial insects.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 377(1845):20200437.

Reproductive division of labour is a hallmark of eusocial insects. However, its stability can often be hampered by the potential for reproduction by otherwise sterile nest-mates. Dominance hierarchy has a crucial role in some species in regulating which individuals reproduce. Compared with those in vertebrates, the dominance hierarchies in eusocial insects tend to involve many more individuals, and should require additional selective forces unique to them. Here, we provide an overview of a series of studies on dominance hierarchies in eusocial insects. Although reported from diverse eusocial taxa, dominance hierarchies have been extensively studied in paper wasps and ponerine ants. Starting from molecular physiological attributes of individuals, we describe how the emergence of dominance hierarchies can be understood as a kind of self-organizing process through individual memory and local behavioural interactions. The resulting global structures can be captured by using network analyses. Lastly, we argue the adaptive significance of dominance hierarchies from the standpoint of sterile subordinates. Kin selection, underpinned by relatedness between nest-mates, is key to the subordinates' acceptance of their positions in the hierarchies. This article is part of the theme issue 'The centennial of the pecking order: current state and future prospects for the study of dominance hierarchies'.

RevDate: 2022-01-08

Walter A, T Bilde (2021)

Avoiding the tragedy of the commons: Improved group-feeding performance in kin groups maintains foraging cooperation in subsocial Stegodyphus africanus spiders (Araneae, Eresidae).

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Cooperation involving shared resource systems is prone to 'the tragedy of the commons', where individuals act in their own self-interest to exploit the resource in a manner that is detrimental to the common good of all group members. Directing cooperation towards kin provides a solution to this problem and predicts the differential performance depending on the relatedness of group members. In subsocial spiders, juveniles live in transient groups that cooperate in hunting and communal feeding. Prey capture is costly in terms of risk of injury and investment of venom and digestive enzymes, and therefore presents a situation where individuals may attempt to avoid costly interactions and exploit the resource acquired by other group members. We tested the prediction that individuals differentiate participation and/or investment in cooperative prey capture and extra-oral digestion (injection of digestive enzymes into prey prior to the initiation of extraction of nutrients) in response to the relatedness of group members with whom they interact, in the subsocial spider Stegodyphus africanus. The performance of groups and interactions over prey attack in groups of either related or mixed kin spiderlings were determined over a period of 4 weeks. We show that kin groups attack the prey significantly faster, recruit individuals to form feeding groups faster, extract prey body mass more efficiently and experience less antagonistic interactions than groups of mixed relatedness, which ultimately translates into an elevated growth rate. These results indicate that related individuals are more willing to take risks and invest in communal digestion when foraging with kin, as predicted by inclusive fitness theory as a solution to the tragedy of the commons.

RevDate: 2022-01-10

Rodrigues AMM, A Gardner (2021)

Reproductive value and the evolution of altruism.

Trends in ecology & evolution pii:S0169-5347(21)00312-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Altruism is favored by natural selection provided that it delivers sufficient benefits to relatives. An altruist's valuation of her relatives depends upon the extent to which they carry copies of her genes - relatedness - and also on the extent to which they are able to transmit their own genes to future generations - reproductive value. However, although relatedness has received a great deal of attention with regard to altruism, reproductive value has been surprisingly neglected. We review how reproductive value modulates patterns of altruism in relation to individual differences in age, sex, and general condition, and discuss how social partners may manipulate each other's reproductive value to incentivize altruism. This topic presents opportunities for tight interplay between theoretical and empirical research.

RevDate: 2021-12-24

Humphries DJ, Nelson-Flower MJ, Bell MBV, et al (2021)

Kinship, dear enemies, and costly combat: The effects of relatedness on territorial overlap and aggression in a cooperative breeder.

Ecology and evolution, 11(23):17031-17042.

Many species maintain territories, but the degree of overlap between territories and the level of aggression displayed in territorial conflicts can vary widely, even within species. Greater territorial overlap may occur when neighboring territory holders are close relatives. Animals may also differentiate neighbors from strangers, with more familiar neighbors eliciting less-aggressive responses during territorial conflicts (the "dear enemy" effect). However, research is lacking in how both kinship and overlap affect territorial conflicts, especially in group-living species. Here, we investigate kinship, territorial overlap, and territorial conflict in a habituated wild population of group-living cooperatively breeding birds, the southern pied babbler Turdoides bicolor. We find that close kin neighbors are beneficial. Territories overlap more when neighboring groups are close kin, and these larger overlaps with kin confer larger territories (an effect not seen for overlaps with unrelated groups). Overall, territorial conflict is costly, causing significant decreases in body mass, but conflicts with kin are shorter than those conducted with nonkin. Conflicts with more familiar unrelated neighbors are also shorter, indicating these neighbors are "dear enemies." However, kinship modulates the "dear enemy" effect; even when kin are encountered less frequently, kin elicit less-aggressive responses, similar to the "dear enemy" effect. Kin selection appears to be a main influence on territorial behavior in this species. Groups derive kin-selected benefits from decreased conflicts and maintain larger territories when overlapping with kin, though not when overlapping with nonkin. More generally, it is possible that kinship extends the "dear enemy" effect in animal societies.

RevDate: 2022-01-04

Hitchcock TJ, A Gardner (2021)

Sex-biased demography modulates male harm across the genome.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1965):20212237.

Recent years have seen an explosion of theoretical and empirical interest in the role that kin selection plays in shaping patterns of sexual conflict, with a particular focus on male harming traits. However, this work has focused solely on autosomal genes, and as such it remains unclear how demography modulates the evolution of male harm loci occurring in other portions of the genome, such as sex chromosomes and cytoplasmic elements. To investigate this, we extend existing models of sexual conflict for application to these different modes of inheritance. We first analyse the general case, revealing how sex-specific relatedness, reproductive value and the intensity of local competition combine to determine the potential for male harm. We then analyse a series of demographically explicit models, to assess how dispersal, overlapping generations, reproductive skew and the mechanism of population regulation affect sexual conflict across the genome, and drive conflict between nuclear and cytoplasmic genes. We then explore the effects of sex biases in these demographic parameters, showing how they may drive further conflicts between autosomes and sex chromosomes. Finally, we outline how different crossing schemes may be used to identify signatures of these intragenomic conflicts.

RevDate: 2021-12-21

Roy SW (2021)

Sex determination: Ant supergenes link sex ratio to social structure.

Current biology : CB, 31(24):R1573-R1575.

A new study maps individual Formica ant queens' tendency to produce single-sex offspring to a so-called 'supergene' locus. This supergene neighbors another supergene determining social structure. Consequently, single-queen and multi-queen colonies disproportionately produce daughters and sons, respectively. This association mirrors the predictions of kin selection, though other possible explanations remain.

RevDate: 2021-12-08

Brodie ED, Cook PA, Costello RA, et al (2021)

Phenotypic Assortment Changes the Landscape of Selection.

The Journal of heredity pii:6456437 [Epub ahead of print].

Social interactions with conspecifics can dramatically affect an individual's fitness. The positive or negative consequences of interacting with social partners typically depend on the value of traits that they express. These pathways of social selection connect the traits and genes expressed in some individuals to the fitness realized by others, thereby altering the total phenotypic selection on and evolutionary response of traits across the multivariate phenotype. The downstream effects of social selection are mediated by the patterns of phenotypic assortment between focal individuals and their social partners (the interactant covariance, Cij', or the multivariate form, CI). Depending on the sign and magnitude of the interactant covariance, the direction of social selection can be reinforced, reversed, or erased. We report estimates of Cij' from a variety of studies of forked fungus beetles to address the largely unexplored questions of consistency and plasticity of phenotypic assortment in natural populations. We found that phenotypic assortment of male beetles based on body size or horn length was highly variable among subpopulations, but that those differences also were broadly consistent from year to year. At the same time, the strength and direction of Cij' changed quickly in response to experimental changes in resource distribution and social properties of populations. Generally, interactant covariances were more negative in contexts in which the number of social interactions was greater in both field and experimental situations. These results suggest that patterns of phenotypic assortment could be important contributors to variability in multilevel selection through their mediation of social selection gradients.

RevDate: 2021-12-01

McGlothlin JW, DN Fisher (2021)

Social Selection and the Evolution of Maladaptation.

The Journal of heredity pii:6446857 [Epub ahead of print].

Evolution by natural selection is often viewed as a process that inevitably leads to adaptation or an increase in population fitness over time. However, maladaptation, an evolved decrease in fitness, may also occur in response to natural selection under some conditions. Social selection, which arises from the effects of social partners on fitness, has been identified as a potential cause of maladaptation, but we lack a general rule identifying when social selection should lead to a decrease in population mean fitness. Here we use a quantitative genetic model to develop such a rule. We show that maladaptation is most likely to occur when social selection is strong relative to nonsocial selection and acts in an opposing direction. In this scenario, the evolution of traits that impose fitness costs on others may outweigh evolved gains in fitness for the individual, leading to a net decrease in population mean fitness. Furthermore, we find that maladaptation may also sometimes occur when phenotypes of interacting individuals negatively covary. We outline the biological situations where maladaptation in response to social selection can be expected, provide both quantitative genetic and phenotypic versions of our derived result, and suggest what empirical work would be needed to test it. We also consider the effect of social selection on inclusive fitness and support previous work showing that inclusive fitness cannot suffer an evolutionary decrease. Taken together, our results show that social selection may decrease population mean fitness when it opposes individual-level selection, even as inclusive fitness increases.

RevDate: 2021-12-24

Domingues CPF, Rebelo JS, Monteiro F, et al (2022)

Harmful behaviour through plasmid transfer: a successful evolutionary strategy of bacteria harbouring conjugative plasmids.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 377(1842):20200473.

Conjugative plasmids are extrachromosomal mobile genetic elements pervasive among bacteria. Plasmids' acquisition often lowers cells' growth rate, so their ubiquity has been a matter of debate. Chromosomes occasionally mutate, rendering plasmids cost-free. However, these compensatory mutations typically take hundreds of generations to appear after plasmid arrival. By then, it could be too late to compete with fast-growing plasmid-free cells successfully. Moreover, arriving plasmids would have to wait hundreds of generations for compensatory mutations to appear in the chromosome of their new host. We hypothesize that plasmid-donor cells may use the plasmid as a 'weapon' to compete with plasmid-free cells, particularly in structured environments. Cells already adapted to plasmids may increase their inclusive fitness through plasmid transfer to impose a cost to nearby plasmid-free cells and increase the replication opportunities of nearby relatives. A mathematical model suggests conditions under which the proposed hypothesis works, and computer simulations tested the long-term plasmid maintenance. Our hypothesis explains the maintenance of conjugative plasmids not coding for beneficial genes. This article is part of the theme issue 'The secret lives of microbial mobile genetic elements'.

RevDate: 2021-11-28

Zhao H, Liu Y, Zhang H, et al (2021)

Worker-Born Males Are Smaller but Have Similar Reproduction Ability to Queen-Born Males in Bumblebees.

Insects, 12(11):.

Queen-worker conflict over the reproduction of males exists in the majority of haplodiplioidy hymenpteran species such as bees, wasps, and ants, whose workers lose mating ability but can produce haploid males in colony. Bumblebee is one of the representatives of primitively eusocial insects with plastic division labor and belongs to monandrous and facultative low polyandry species that have reproductive totipotent workers, which are capable of competing with mother queen to produce haploid males in the queenright colony compared to higher eusocial species, e.g., honeybees. So, bumblebees should be a better material to study worker reproduction, but the reproductive characteristics of worker-born males (WMs) remain unclear. Here, we choose the best-studied bumblebee Bombus terrestris to evaluate the morphological characteristics and reproductive ability of WMs from the queenless micro-colonies. The sexually matured WMs showed smaller in forewing length and weight, relatively less sperm counts but equally high sperm viability in comparison with the queen-born males (QMs) of the queenright colony. Despite with smaller size, the WMs are able to successfully mate with the virgin queens in competition with the QMs under laboratory conditions, which is quite different from the honeybees reported. In addition, there was no difference in the colony development, including the traits such as egg-laying rate, colony establishment rate, and populations of offspring, between the WM- and the QM-mated queens. Our study highlights the equivalent reproductive ability of worker-born males compared to that of queens, which might exhibit a positive application or special use of bumblebee rearing, especially for species whose males are not enough for copulation. Further, our finding contributes new evidence to the kin selection theory and suggests worker reproduction might relate to the evolution of sociality in bees.

RevDate: 2021-11-23

Chatterjee D, R Rai (2021)

Choosing Death Over Survival: A Need to Identify Evolutionary Mechanisms Underlying Human Suicide.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:689022.

The act of killing self contradicts the central purpose of human evolution, that is, survival and propagation of one's genetic material. Yet, it continues to be one of the leading causes of human death. A handful of theories in the realm of evolutionary psychology have attempted to explain human suicide. The current article analyses the major components of certain prominent viewpoints, namely, Inclusive fitness, Bargaining model, Pain-Brain model, Psychological aposematism, and few other perspectives. The article argues that relatively more weightage has been given to understanding ultimate (the "why") rather than proximate (the "how") functionality of suicidal acts. Evolutionary theorists have consistently pointed out that to comprehensively understand a trait or behavior, one needs to delineate not only how it supports survival but also the evolution of the mechanisms underlying the trait or behavior. Existing theories on suicide have primarily focused on its fitness benefits on surviving kin instead of providing evolutionary explanations of the more complex mechanisms leading up to such self-destructive motivations. Thus, the current paper attempts to highlight this gap in theorizing while suggesting probable proximate explanations of suicide which stresses the need to diffuse attention paid to fitness consequences of the act alone. We speculate that such explorations are needed in order to build a robust and comprehensive evolutionary theory of human suicide.

RevDate: 2022-01-24
CmpDate: 2022-01-24

Raymond B, Z Erdos (2022)

Passage and the evolution of virulence in invertebrate pathogens: Fundamental and applied perspectives.

Journal of invertebrate pathology, 187:107692.

Understanding the ecological and genetic factors that determine the evolution of virulence has broad value for invertebrate pathology. In addition to helping us understand the fundamental biology of our study organisms this body of theory has important applications in microbial biocontrol. Experimental tests of virulence theory are often carried out in invertebrate models and yet theory rarely informs applied passage experiments that aim to increase or maintain virulence. This review summarizes recent progress in this field with a focus on work most relevant to biological control: the virulence of invertebrate pathogens that are 'obligate killers' and which require cadavers for the production of infectious propagules. We discuss recent theory and fundamental and applied experimental evolution with bacteria, fungi, baculoviruses and nematodes. While passage experiments using baculoviruses have a long history of producing isolates with increased virulence, studies with other pathogens have not been so successful. Recent passage experiments that have applied evolution of virulence frameworks based on cooperation (kin selection) have produced novel methods and promising mutants with increased killing power. Evolution of virulence theory can provide plausible explanations for the varied results of passage experiments as well as a predictive framework for improving artificial selection.

RevDate: 2022-01-27

Denton KK, Ram Y, MW Feldman (2021)

Conformity and content-biased cultural transmission in the evolution of altruism.

Theoretical population biology, 143:52-61 pii:S0040-5809(21)00074-5 [Epub ahead of print].

The evolution of altruism has been extensively modeled under the assumption of genetic transmission, whereas the dynamics under cultural transmission are less well understood. Previous research has shown that cultural transmission can facilitate the evolution of altruism by increasing (1) the probability of adopting the altruistic phenotype, and (2) assortment between altruists. We incorporate vertical and oblique transmission, which can be conformist or anti-conformist, into models of parental care, sibling altruism, and altruism between individuals that meet assortatively. If oblique transmission is conformist, it becomes easier for altruism to invade a population of non-altruists as the probability of vertical transmission increases. If oblique transmission is anti-conformist, decreasing vertical transmission facilitates invasion by altruism in the assortative meeting model, whereas in other models, there is a trade-off: greater vertical transmission produces greater assortment among genetically related altruists, but lowers the probability of adopting altruism via anti-conformity. Compared to conditions for invasion under genetic transmission, e.g., Hamilton's rule, we show that invasion can be easier with sufficiently strong anti-conformity, and in some models, with sufficiently high assortment even if oblique transmission is conformist. We also explore invasion by an allele A that increases individuals' content bias for altruism, in the absence of other forms of cultural transmission. If costs and benefits combine additively, A invades under previously known conditions. If costs and benefits combine multiplicatively, invasion by A and by altruism become more difficult than in the corresponding additive models.

RevDate: 2021-11-03

Grof-Tisza P, Karban R, Rasheed MU, et al (2021)

Risk of herbivory negatively correlates with the diversity of volatile emissions involved in plant communication.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1961):20211790.

Plant-to-plant volatile-mediated communication and subsequent induced resistance to insect herbivores is common. Less clear is the adaptive significance of these interactions; what selective mechanisms favour plant communication and what conditions allow individuals to benefit by both emitting and responding to cues? We explored the predictions of two non-exclusive hypotheses to explain why plants might emit cues, the kin selection hypothesis (KSH) and the mutual benefit hypothesis (MBH). We examined 15 populations of sagebrush that experience a range of naturally occurring herbivory along a 300 km latitudinal transect. As predicted by the KSH, we found several uncommon chemotypes with some chemotypes occurring only within a single population. Consistent with the MBH, chemotypic diversity was negatively correlated with herbivore pressure; sites with higher levels of herbivory were associated with a few common cues broadly recognized by most individuals. These cues varied among different populations. Our results are similar to those reported for anti-predator signalling in vertebrates.

RevDate: 2022-02-05
CmpDate: 2021-11-24

Fisktjønmo GLH, Næss MW, BJ Bårdsen (2021)

The Relative Importance of "Cooperative Context" and Kinship in Structuring Cooperative Behavior : A Comparative Study of Saami Reindeer Herders.

Human nature (Hawthorne, N.Y.), 32(4):677-705.

Kin relations have a strong theoretical and empirical basis for explaining cooperative behavior. Nevertheless, there is growing recognition that context-the cooperative environment of an individual-also shapes the willingness of individuals to cooperate. For nomadic pastoralists in Norway, cooperation among both kin and non-kin is an essential predictor for success. The northern parts of the country are characterized by a history of herder-herder competition exacerbating between-herder conflict, lack of trust, and subsequent coordination problems. In contrast, because of a history of herder-farmer competition, southern Norway is characterized by high levels of between-herder coordination and trust. This comparative study investigates the relative importance of "cooperative context" and kinship in structuring cooperative behavior using an experimental gift game. The main findings from this study were that in the South, a high level of cooperation around an individual pushes gifts to be distributed evenly among other herders. Nevertheless, kinship matters, since close kin give and receive larger gifts. In contrast, kinship seems to be the main factor affecting gift distribution in the North. Herders in the North are also concerned with distributing gifts equally, albeit limiting them to close kin: the level of intragroup cooperation drives gifts to be distributed evenly among other closely related herders. The observed regional contrasts in cooperative decisions fit with the different historical levels of conflict and trust in the two regions: whereas herders in the South are affected by both cooperative context and kinship, kinship seems to be the main determinant of cooperation in the North.

RevDate: 2021-10-24

Zwolak R, Clement D, Sih A, et al (2021)

Mast seeding promotes evolution of scatter-hoarding.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 376(1839):20200375.

Many plant species worldwide are dispersed by scatter-hoarding granivores: animals that hide seeds in numerous, small caches for future consumption. Yet, the evolution of scatter-hoarding is difficult to explain because undefended caches are at high risk of pilferage. Previous models have attempted to solve this problem by giving cache owners large advantages in cache recovery, by kin selection, or by introducing reciprocal pilferage of 'shared' seed resources. However, the role of environmental variability has been so far overlooked in this context. One important form of such variability is masting, which is displayed by many plant species dispersed by scatterhoarders. We use a mathematical model to investigate the influence of masting on the evolution of scatter-hoarding. The model accounts for periodically varying annual seed fall, caching and pilfering behaviour, and the demography of scatterhoarders. The parameter values are based mostly on research on European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis). Starvation of scatterhoarders between mast years decreases the population density that enters masting events, which leads to reduced seed pilferage. Satiation of scatterhoarders during mast events lowers the reproductive cost of caching (i.e. the cost of caching for the future rather than using seeds for current reproduction). These reductions promote the evolution of scatter-hoarding behaviour especially when interannual variation in seed fall and the period between masting events are large. This article is part of the theme issue 'The ecology and evolution of synchronized seed production in plants'.

RevDate: 2021-11-30

Lessard S, Li C, Zheng XD, et al (2021)

Inclusive fitness and Hamilton's rule in a stochastic environment.

Theoretical population biology, 142:91-99.

The evolution of cooperation in Prisoner's Dilemmas with additive random cost and benefit for cooperation cannot be accounted for by Hamilton's rule based on mean effects transferred from recipients to donors weighted by coefficients of relatedness, which defines inclusive fitness in a constant environment. Extensions that involve higher moments of stochastic effects are possible, however, and these are connected to a concept of random inclusive fitness that is frequency-dependent. This is shown in the setting of pairwise interactions in a haploid population with the same coefficient of relatedness between interacting players. In an infinite population, fixation of cooperation is stochastically stable if a mean geometric inclusive fitness of defection when rare is negative, while fixation of defection is stochastically unstable if a mean geometric inclusive fitness of cooperation when rare is positive, and these conditions are generally not equivalent. In a finite population, the probability for cooperation to ultimately fix when represented once exceeds the probability under neutrality or the corresponding probability for defection if the mean inclusive fitness of cooperation when its frequency is 1/3 or 1/2, respectively, exceeds 1. All these results rely on the simplifying assumption of a linear fitness function. It is argued that meaningful applications of random inclusive fitness in complex settings (multi-player game, diploidy, population structure) would generally require conditions of weak selection and additive gene action.

RevDate: 2021-10-08

Tanskanen AO, Danielsbacka M, Hämäläinen H, et al (2021)

Does Transition to Retirement Promote Grandchild Care? Evidence From Europe.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:738117.

Evolutionary theory posits that grandparents can increase their inclusive fitness by investing in their grandchildren. This study explored whether the transition to retirement affected the amount of grandchild care that European grandparents provided to their descendants. Data from five waves of the longitudinal Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe collected between 2004 and 2015 from 15 countries were used. We executed within-person (or fixed-effect) regression models, which considered individual variations and person-specific changes over time. It was detected that transition to retirement was associated with increased grandchild care among both grandmothers and grandfathers. However, the effect of retirement was stronger for grandfathers than for grandmothers. Moreover, transition to retirement was associated with increased grandchild care among both maternal and paternal grandparents, but there was no significant difference between lineages in the magnitude of the effect of transition to retirement on grandchild care. In public debate retirees are often considered a burden to society but the present study indicated that when grandparents retire, their investment in grandchildren increased. The findings are discussed with reference to key evolutionary theories that consider older adults' tendency to invest time and resources in their grandchildren.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-03

Leonardo DE, Nogueira-Filho SLG, de Góes Maciel F, et al (2021)

Third-party conflict interventions are kin biased in captive white-lipped peccaries (Mammalia, Tayassuidae).

Behavioural processes, 193:104524.

Third-party interventions may regulate conflicts to reduce aggression and promote cohesion amongst group members, but are rarely documented in ungulates. The white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) lives in mixed-sex herds of hundreds of individuals in Neotropical forests, which are likely to benefit from mechanisms that sustain social cohesiveness. We examined third-party conflict interventions between individuals in captive groups of white-lipped peccaries. During a period of 60 days, we recorded agonistic interactions and occurrences of third-party conflict interventions, and estimated the genetic relatedness between the individuals involved using multilocus microsatellite genotypes. Most third-party conflict interventions were by the dominant male of each group, resulting in conflict termination 100% of the time. Our results also revealed that white-lipped peccaries favour their closest relatives and that individuals showed lower levels of aggression towards kin than to non-kin, and interventions on behalf of kin were more frequent than on behalf of non-kin. Our findings support the idea that genetic relatedness is fundamental in both social structure and third-party conflict interventions in this species, allowing us to suggest that kin selection could have a key role in the evolution of social behaviour of white-lipped peccaries.

RevDate: 2021-12-20
CmpDate: 2021-12-20

Josi D, Heg D, Takeyama T, et al (2021)

Age- and sex-dependent variation in relatedness corresponds to reproductive skew, territory inheritance, and workload in cooperatively breeding cichlids.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 75(11):2881-2897.

Kin selection plays a major role in the evolution of cooperative systems. However, many social species exhibit complex within-group relatedness structures, where kin selection alone cannot explain the occurrence of cooperative behavior. Understanding such social structures is crucial to elucidate the evolution and maintenance of multi-layered cooperative societies. In lamprologine cichlids, intragroup relatedness seems to correlate positively with reproductive skew, suggesting that in this clade dominants tend to provide reproductive concessions to unrelated subordinates to secure their participation in brood care. We investigate how patterns of within-group relatedness covary with direct and indirect fitness benefits of cooperation in a highly social vertebrate, the cooperatively breeding, polygynous lamprologine cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi. Behavioral and genetic data from 43 groups containing 578 individuals show that groups are socially and genetically structured into subgroups. About 17% of group members were unrelated immigrants, and average relatedness between breeders and brood care helpers declined with helper age due to group membership dynamics. Hence the relative importance of direct and indirect fitness benefits of cooperation depends on helper age. Our findings highlight how both direct and indirect fitness benefits of cooperation and group membership can select for cooperative behavior in societies comprising complex social and relatedness structures.

RevDate: 2021-11-30

Priklopil T, L Lehmann (2021)

Metacommunities, fitness and gradual evolution.

Theoretical population biology, 142:12-35.

We analyze the evolution of a multidimensional quantitative trait in a class-structured focal species interacting with other species in a wider metacommunity. The evolutionary dynamics in the focal species as well as the ecological dynamics of the whole metacommunity is described as a continuous-time process with birth, physiological development, dispersal, and death given as rates that can depend on the state of the whole metacommunity. This can accommodate complex local community and global metacommunity environmental feedbacks owing to inter- and intra-specific interactions, as well as local environmental stochastic fluctuations. For the focal species, we derive a fitness measure for a mutant allele affecting class-specific trait expression. Using classical results from geometric singular perturbation theory, we provide a detailed proof that if the effect of the mutation on phenotypic expression is small ("weak selection"), the large system of dynamical equations needed to describe selection on the mutant allele in the metacommunity can be reduced to a single ordinary differential equation on the arithmetic mean mutant allele frequency that is of constant sign. This invariance on allele frequency entails the mutant either dies out or will out-compete the ancestral resident (or wild) type. Moreover, the directional selection coefficient driving arithmetic mean allele frequency can be expressed as an inclusive fitness effect calculated from the resident metacommunity alone, and depends, as expected, on individual fitness differentials, relatedness, and reproductive values. This formalizes the Darwinian process of gradual evolution driven by random mutation and natural selection in spatially and physiologically class-structured metacommunities.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-10

Premate E, Borko Š, Kralj-Fišer S, et al (2021)

No room for males in caves: Female-biased sex ratio in subterranean amphipods of the genus Niphargus.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 34(10):1653-1661.

Sex allocation theory predicts that the proportion of daughters to sons will evolve in response to ecological conditions that determine the costs and benefits of producing each sex. All else being equal, the adult sex ratio (ASR) should also vary with ecological conditions. Many studies of subterranean species reported female-biased ASR, but no systematic study has yet been conducted. We test the hypothesis that the ASR becomes more female-biased with increased isolation from the surface. We compiled a data set of ASRs of 35 species in the subterranean amphipod Niphargus, each living in one of three distinct habitats (surface-subterranean boundary, cave streams, phreatic lakes) representing an environmental gradient of increased isolation underground. The ASR was female-biased in 27 of 35 species; the bias was statistically significant in 12 species. We found a significant difference in the ASR among habitats after correction for phylogeny. It is most weakly female-biased at the surface-subterranean boundary and most strongly female-biased in phreatic lakes. Additional modelling suggests that the ASR has evolved towards a single value for both surface-subterranean boundary and cave stream-dwelling species, and another value for 9 of 11 phreatic lake dwellers. We suggest that a history of inbreeding in subterranean populations might lower inbreeding depression such that kin selection favours mating with siblings. This could select for a female-biased offspring sex ratio due to local mate competition among brothers. The observed patterns in sex ratios in subterranean species make them a group worthy of more attention from those interested in sex allocation theory.

RevDate: 2021-10-21
CmpDate: 2021-10-21

Croft DP, Weiss MN, Nielsen MLK, et al (2021)

Kinship dynamics: patterns and consequences of changes in local relatedness.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1957):20211129.

Mounting evidence suggests that patterns of local relatedness can change over time in predictable ways, a process termed kinship dynamics. Kinship dynamics may occur at the level of the population or social group, where the mean relatedness across all members of the population or group changes over time, or at the level of the individual, where an individual's relatedness to its local group changes with age. Kinship dynamics are likely to have fundamental consequences for the evolution of social behaviour and life history because they alter the inclusive fitness payoffs to actions taken at different points in time. For instance, growing evidence suggests that individual kinship dynamics have shaped the evolution of menopause and age-specific patterns of helping and harming. To date, however, the consequences of kinship dynamics for social evolution have not been widely explored. Here we review the patterns of kinship dynamics that can occur in natural populations and highlight how taking a kinship dynamics approach has yielded new insights into behaviour and life-history evolution. We discuss areas where analysing kinship dynamics could provide new insight into social evolution, and we outline some of the challenges in predicting and quantifying kinship dynamics in natural populations.

RevDate: 2021-09-14
CmpDate: 2021-09-14

He QQ, Zheng XD, Mace R, et al (2021)

Hamilton's rule and kin competition in a finite kin population.

Journal of theoretical biology, 529:110862.

Kin selection means that individuals can increase their own inclusive fitness through displaying more altruistically toward their relatives. So, Hamilton's rule says kin selection will work if the coefficient of relatedness exceeds the cost-to-benefit ratio of the altruistic act. However, some studies have shown that the kin competition due to the altruism among relatives can reduce, and even totally negate, the kin-selected benefits of altruism toward relatives. In order to understand how the evolution of cooperation is influenced by both kin selection and kin competition under a general theoretical framework, we here consider the evolutionary dynamics of cooperation in a finite kin population, where kin competition is incorporated into a simple Prisoner's Dilemma game between relatives. Differently from the previous studies, we emphasize that the difference between the effects of mutually and unilaterally altruistic acts on kin competition may play an important role for the evolution of cooperation. The main results not only show the conditions that Hamilton's rule still works under the kin competition but also reveal the evolutionary biological mechanism driving the evolution of cooperation in a finite kin population.

RevDate: 2021-08-10

Iritani R, West SA, J Abe (2021)

Cooperative interactions among females can lead to even more extraordinary sex ratios.

Evolution letters, 5(4):370-384.

Hamilton's local mate competition theory provided an explanation for extraordinary female-biased sex ratios in a range of organisms. When mating takes place locally, in structured populations, a female-biased sex ratio is favored to reduce competition between related males, and to provide more mates for males. However, there are a number of wasp species in which the sex ratios appear to more female biased than predicted by Hamilton's theory. It has been hypothesized that the additional female bias in these wasp species results from cooperative interactions between females. We investigated theoretically the extent to which cooperation between related females can interact with local mate competition to favor even more female-biased sex ratios. We found that (i) cooperation between females can lead to sex ratios that are more female biased than predicted by local competition theory alone, and (ii) sex ratios can be more female biased when the cooperation occurs from offspring to mothers before dispersal, rather than cooperation between siblings after dispersal. Our models formally confirm the verbal predictions made in previous experimental studies, which could be applied to a range of organisms. Specifically, cooperation can help explain sex ratio biases in Sclerodermus and Melittobia wasps, although quantitative comparisons between predictions and data suggest that some additional factors may be operating.

RevDate: 2021-08-10

Novakova J, Machová K, Sýkorová K, et al (2021)

Looking Like a Million Dollars: Does Attractiveness Priming Increase Altruistic Behavior in Experimental Games?.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:658466.

The emergence of altruistic behavior constitutes one of the most widely studied problems in evolutionary biology and behavioral science. Multiple explanations have been proposed, most importantly including kin selection, reciprocity, and costly signaling in sexual selection. In order to test the latter, this study investigated whether people behave more altruistically when primed by photographs of attractive faces and whether more or less altruistic people differ in the number of sexual and romantic partners. Participants in the general population (N = 158, 84 F, 74 M) first rated the attractiveness of photographs of 20 faces of the opposite (sexually preferred) sex and then played the Dictator and Ultimatum Games (DG and UG). The photograph rating acted as priming; half the participants received photographs of people rated as more attractive than average in an earlier study, and the other half received photographs previously rated as less attractive. The attractiveness-primed participants, especially men, were expected to behave more altruistically-signaling that they are desirable, resource-possessing partners. We also expected altruists to self-report more sexual and romantic partners. The observed difference between altruistic behaviors in the attractiveness- and unattractiveness-primed groups occurred in UG offers, however, in the opposite than expected direction in women. The number of sexual partners was positively correlated to minimum acceptable offers (MAOs) in the UG, in line with expectations based on the theory of costly signaling.

RevDate: 2021-09-16
CmpDate: 2021-09-16

Lymbery SJ, Tomkins JL, Buzatto BA, et al (2021)

Kin-mediated plasticity in alternative reproductive tactics.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1956):20211069.

Conditional strategies occur when the relative fitness pay-off from expressing a given phenotype is contingent upon environmental circumstances. This conditional strategy model underlies cases of alternative reproductive tactics, in which individuals of one sex employ different means to obtain reproduction. How kin structure affects the expression of alternative reproductive tactics remains unexplored. We address this using the mite Rhizoglyphus echinopus, in which large males develop into aggressive 'fighters' and small males develop into non-aggressive 'scramblers.' Because only fighters kill their rivals, they should incur a greater indirect fitness cost when competing with their relatives, and thus fighter expression could be reduced in the presence of relatives. We raised mites in full-sibling or mixed-sibship groups and found that fighters were more common at higher body weights in full-sibling groups, not less common as we predicted (small individuals were almost exclusively scramblers in both treatments). This result could be explained if relatedness and cue variability are interpreted signals of population density, since fighters are more common at low densities in this species. Alternatively, our results may indicate that males compete more intensely with relatives in this species. We provide the first evidence of kin-mediated plasticity in the expression of alternative reproductive tactics.

RevDate: 2021-08-03

Nikolajsen H, Richardson EV, Sandal LF, et al (2021)

Fitness for all: how do non-disabled people respond to inclusive fitness centres?.

BMC sports science, medicine & rehabilitation, 13(1):81.

BACKGROUND: Representation of people with disabilities in fitness centres is lacking, despite initiatives to promote inclusion mainly in the UK and USA. Success creating these inclusive spaces is mixed and few were crafted taking into account attitudes and biases of non-disabled co-members. Inclusive fitness centres have not gained much attention in Denmark, and the campaign 'Fitness for All - fitness for people with physical disabilities' was initiated. The aim of this study was shaped by two key questions; 1) what is the ideal fitness space from the perception of non-disabled fitness users? and 2) how might their dis/ableist attitudes negate inclusion in three future pilot inclusive fitness centres across Denmark?

METHOD: Three focus groups involving 5-7 (total n = 18) adult non-disabled participants were conducted. Aged ranged between 19 and 75 years, both men and women were involved, with fitness centre experiences ranging from 0 to 20+ years. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using Malterud's four-step method of systematic text condensation.

RESULTS: Of most importance was a pleasant atmosphere which should make them feel welcome and comfortable. Good social relations within the space were also highly valued. Participants welcomed people with physical disabilities but predicted many challenges with an inclusive fitness centre and expressed unconscious ableist attitudes.

CONCLUSION: The current study adds essential knowledge regarding how non-disabled people perceive the ideal inclusive fitness centre. A welcoming and inviting atmosphere is essential whereas social skills, ableism, ignorance, and preconceptions are important barriers that may hinder inclusion of participants with disabilities in inclusive fitness centres.

RevDate: 2021-11-09
CmpDate: 2021-11-09

Bensch HM, O'Connor EA, CK Cornwallis (2021)

Living with relatives offsets the harm caused by pathogens in natural populations.

eLife, 10:.

Living with relatives can be highly beneficial, enhancing reproduction and survival. High relatedness can, however, increase susceptibility to pathogens. Here, we examine whether the benefits of living with relatives offset the harm caused by pathogens, and if this depends on whether species typically live with kin. Using comparative meta-analysis of plants, animals, and a bacterium (nspecies = 56), we show that high within-group relatedness increases mortality when pathogens are present. In contrast, mortality decreased with relatedness when pathogens were rare, particularly in species that live with kin. Furthermore, across groups variation in mortality was lower when relatedness was high, but abundances of pathogens were more variable. The effects of within-group relatedness were only evident when pathogens were experimentally manipulated, suggesting that the harm caused by pathogens is masked by the benefits of living with relatives in nature. These results highlight the importance of kin selection for understanding disease spread in natural populations.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Subrahmaniam HJ, Roby D, F Roux (2021)

Toward Unifying Evolutionary Ecology and Genomics to Understand Positive Plant-Plant Interactions Within Wild Species.

Frontiers in plant science, 12:683373.

In a local environment, plant networks include interactions among individuals of different species and among genotypes of the same species. While interspecific interactions are recognized as main drivers of plant community patterns, intraspecific interactions have recently gained attention in explaining plant community dynamics. However, an overview of intraspecific genotype-by-genotype interaction patterns within wild plant species is still missing. From the literature, we identified 91 experiments that were mainly designed to investigate the presence of positive interactions based on two contrasting hypotheses. Kin selection theory predicts partisan help given to a genealogical relative. The rationale behind this hypothesis relies on kin/non-kin recognition, with the positive outcome of kin cooperation substantiating it. On the other hand, the elbow-room hypothesis supports intraspecific niche partitioning leading to positive outcome when genetically distant genotypes interact. Positive diversity-productivity relationship rationalizes this hypothesis, notably with the outcome of overyielding. We found that both these hypotheses have been highly supported in experimental studies despite their opposite predictions between the extent of genetic relatedness among neighbors and the level of positive interactions. Interestingly, we identified a highly significant effect of breeding system, with a high proportion of selfing species associated with the presence of kin cooperation. Nonetheless, we identified several shortcomings regardless of the species considered, such as the lack of a reliable estimate of genetic relatedness among genotypes and ecological characterization of the natural habitats from which genotypes were collected, thereby impeding the identification of selective drivers of positive interactions. We therefore propose a framework combining evolutionary ecology and genomics to establish the eco-genomic landscape of positive GxG interactions in wild plant species.

RevDate: 2021-12-29

Teunissen N, Kingma SA, Fan M, et al (2021)

Context-dependent social benefits drive cooperative predator defense in a bird.

Current biology : CB, 31(18):4120-4126.e4.

Understanding the major evolutionary transition from solitary individuals to complex societies is hampered by incomplete insight into the drivers of living in cooperative groups.1-3 This may be because the benefits of sociality can derive from group living itself (e.g., dilution of predation risk),4,5 or depend on social context (e.g., kin or potential mates represent beneficial group members).6-8 Cooperative breeders, where non-breeding subordinates assist breeders, have provided important insights into the drivers of cooperation, but comprehensive assessment of diverse potential benefits has been hindered by a prevailing focus on benefits deriving from raising offspring.9-11 We propose a novel paradigm to tease apart different benefits by comparing cooperative responses to predators threatening dependent young and adult group members according to their value for the responding individual. Applying this approach in purple-crowned fairy-wrens, Malurus coronatus, we show that non-breeding subordinates are more responsive to nest predators-a threat to offspring-when their probability of inheriting a breeding position is greater-irrespective of group size, relatedness to offspring, or opportunity to showcase individual quality to potential mates. This suggests that offspring defense is modulated according to the benefits of raising future helpers. Conversely, when predators pose a threat to adults, responsiveness depends on social context: subordinates respond more often when kin or potential mates are under threat, or when group members are associated with mutualistic social bonds, indirect genetic benefits, and future reproductive benefits.9,12,13 Our results demonstrate that direct and kin-selected benefits of sociality are context dependent, and highlight the importance of predation risk in driving complex sociality.

RevDate: 2021-07-23

Hollon SD, Andrews PW, JA Thomson (Jr) (2021)

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Depression From an Evolutionary Perspective.

Frontiers in psychiatry, 12:667592.

Evolutionary medicine attempts to solve a problem with which traditional medicine has struggled historically; how do we distinguish between diseased states and "healthy" responses to disease states? Fever and diarrhea represent classic examples of evolved adaptations that increase the likelihood of survival in response to the presence of pathogens in the body. Whereas, the severe mental disorders like psychotic mania or the schizophrenias may involve true "disease" states best treated pharmacologically, most non-psychotic "disorders" that revolve around negative affects like depression or anxiety are likely adaptations that evolved to serve a function that increased inclusive fitness in our ancestral past. What this likely means is that the proximal mechanisms underlying the non-psychotic "disorders" are "species typical" and neither diseases nor disorders. Rather, they are coordinated "whole body" responses that prepare the individual to respond in a maximally functional fashion to the variety of different challenges that our ancestors faced. A case can be made that depression evolved to facilitate a deliberate cognitive style (rumination) in response to complex (often social) problems. What this further suggests is that those interventions that best facilitate the functions that those adaptations evolved to serve (such as rumination) are likely to be preferred over those like medications that simply anesthetize the distress. We consider the mechanisms that evolved to generate depression and the processes utilized in cognitive behavior therapy to facilitate those functions from an adaptationist evolutionary perspective.

RevDate: 2021-11-11
CmpDate: 2021-11-11

Barra T, Viblanc VA, Saraux C, et al (2021)

Parental investment in the Columbian ground squirrel: empirical tests of sex allocation models.

Ecology, 102(11):e03479.

Parental allocation of resources into male or female offspring and differences in the balance of offspring sexes in natural populations are central research topics in evolutionary ecology. Fisher (Fisher, R. A. 1930. The genetical theory of natural selection, Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK) identified frequency-dependent selection as the mechanism responsible for an equal investment in the sexes of offspring at the end of parental care. Three main theories have been proposed for explaining departures from Fisherian sex ratios in light of variation in environmental (social) and individual (maternal condition) characteristics. The Trivers-Willard model (Trivers, R., and D. Willard. 1973. Natural selection of parental ability to vary the sex ratio of offspring. Science 179:90-92) of male-biased sex allocation by mothers in the best body condition is based on the competitive ability of male offspring for future access to mates and thus superior reproduction. The local resource competition model is based on competitive interactions in matrilines, as occur in many mammal species, where producing sons reduces future intrasexual competition with daughters. A final model invokes advantages of maintaining matrilines for philopatric females, despite any increased competition among females. We used 29 yr of pedigree and demographic data to evaluate these hypotheses in the Colombian ground squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus), a semisocial species characterized by strong female philopatry. Overall, male offspring were heavier than female offspring at birth and at weaning, suggesting a higher production cost. With more local kin present, mothers in the best condition biased their offspring sex ratio in favor of males, and mothers in poor condition biased offspring sex ratio in favor of females. Without co-breeding close kin, the pattern was reversed, with mothers in the best condition producing more daughters, and mothers in poor condition producing more sons. Our results do not provide strong support for any of the single-factor models of allocation to the sexes of offspring, but rather suggest combined influences of relative maternal condition and matriline dominance on offspring sex ratio.

RevDate: 2021-11-02
CmpDate: 2021-11-02

Arnot M, R Mace (2021)

An evolutionary perspective on kin care directed up the generations.

Scientific reports, 11(1):14163.

Within evolutionary sciences, care towards younger kin is well understood from an inclusive fitness framework, but why adults would care for older relatives has been less well researched. One existing model has argued that care directed towards elderly parents might be adaptive because of their benefits as carers themselves, with their help freeing up the middle generations' energy which can then be invested into direct reproduction. However, in this model, elder care is more beneficial to fitness if the carer is fecund. To offer an initial test of this hypothesis, we look at caring behaviour relative to fecundity status in a contemporary dataset from the United Kingdom. If elder care is contingent on possible direct fitness benefits, we would expect women who are still menstruating to care more for their parents than women who can no longer reproduce. Based on this, we also predict that women who are physiologically post-reproductive would invest more in their grandchildren, through whom they can increase their inclusive fitness. After controlling for age and other relevant factors, we find that women who are still menstruating spend more time caring for their parents than those who are not, and the reverse is true when looking at time spent caring for grandchildren. These findings demonstrate that potential inclusive fitness outcomes influence how women allocate care up and down the generations.

RevDate: 2021-09-13
CmpDate: 2021-07-05

Ando J, T Kawamoto (2021)

Genetic and Environmental Structure of Altruism Characterized by Recipients in Relation to Personality.

Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 57(6):.

Background and Objectives: Altruism is a form of prosocial behavior with the goal of increasing the fitness of another individual as a recipient while reducing the fitness of the actor. Although there are many studies on its heterogeneity, only a few behavioral genetic studies have been conducted to examine different recipient types: family members favored by kin selection, the dynamic network of friends and acquaintances as direct reciprocity, and strangers as indirect reciprocity. Materials and Methods: This study investigated the genetic and environmental structure of altruism with reference to recipient types measured by the self-report altruism scale distinguished by the recipient (the SRAS-DR) and examine the relationship to personality dimensions measured by the NEO-FFI with a sample of 461 adult Japanese twin pairs. Results: The present study shows that there is a single common factor of altruism: additive genetic effects explain 51% of altruism without a shared environmental contribution. The genetic contribution of this single common factor is explained by the genetic factors of neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness to experience (O), and conscientiousness (C), as well as a common genetic factor specific to altruism. Only altruism toward strangers is affected by shared environmental factors. Conclusions: Different types of altruistic personality are constructed by specific combinational profiles of general personality traits such as the Big Five as well as a genetic factor specific to altruism in each specific way.

RevDate: 2021-07-21

He Y, Xu H, Liu H, et al (2021)

Sexual competition and kin recognition co-shape the traits of neighboring dioecious Diospyros morrisiana seedlings.

Horticulture research, 8(1):162.

Plants respond differently to the identity of their neighbors, such as their sex and kinship, showing plasticity in their traits. However, how the functional traits of dioecious trees are shaped by the recognition of neighbors with different sex and kinship remains unknown. In this study, we set up an experiment with different kin/nonkin and inter/intrasexual combinations for a dioecious tree species, Diospyros morrisiana. The results showed that plants grew better with nonkin and intrasexual neighbors than with kin and intersexual neighbors. Kin combinations had significantly shorter root length in the resource-overlapping zone than nonkin combinations, suggesting that kin tended to reduce competition by adjusting their root distribution, especially among female siblings. Our study suggested that the seedling growth of D. morrisiana was affected by both the relatedness and sexual identity of neighboring plants. Further analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry showed that the root exudate composition of female seedlings differed from that of male seedlings. Root exudates may play important roles in sex competition in dioecious plants. This study indicates that sex-specific competition and kin recognition interact and co-shape the traits of D. morrisiana seedlings, while intrasexual and nonkin neighbors facilitate the growth of seedlings. Our study implies that kin- and sex-related interactions depend on different mechanisms, kin selection, and niche partitioning, respectively. These results are critical for understanding how species coexist and how traits are shaped in nature.

RevDate: 2021-06-22

Daly M, G Perry (2021)

In-Law Relationships in Evolutionary Perspective: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Frontiers in sociology, 6:683501.

In-laws (relatives by marriage) are true kin because the descendants that they have in common make them "vehicles" of one another's inclusive fitness. From this shared interest flows cooperation and mutual valuation: the good side of in-law relationships. But there is also a bad side. Recent theoretical models err when they equate the inclusive fitness value of corresponding pairs of genetic and affinal (marital) relatives-brother and brother-in-law, daughter and daughter-in-law-partly because a genetic relative's reproduction always replicates ego's genes whereas reproduction by an affine may not, and partly because of distinct avenues for nepotism. Close genetic relatives compete, often fiercely, over familial property, but the main issues in conflict among marital relatives are different and diverse: fidelity and paternity, divorce and autonomy, and inclinations to invest in distinct natal kindreds. These conflicts can get ugly, even lethal. We present the results of a pilot study conducted in Bangladesh which suggests that heightened mortality arising from mother-in-law/daughter-in-law conflict may be a two-way street, and we urge others to replicate and extend these analyses.

RevDate: 2021-12-04
CmpDate: 2021-06-24

Kalbarczyk M (2021)

Non-Financial Support Provided to Parents in Stepfamilies: Empirical Examination of Europeans 50.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(10):.

The aging of the population, coupled with increasing divorce and remarriage rates, are changing the structure of potential non-financial support for older parents. The purpose of this study was to examine support provided to parents aged 50+ in stepfamilies and to determine if the difference existed between help provided by natural children and stepchildren. The primary objective was to investigate whether blood ties were a significant determinant of the support if the quality of the relationship between the parent and a natural child or a stepchild was taken into account. The secondary objective was to answer the question to what extent the reciprocal exchange motive of support was observed in stepfamilies. The probability of non-financial support from children and stepchildren was estimated based on the sixth wave of the SHARE (Survey on Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe) database for European countries. Children in stepfamilies provided less non-financial help to parents than those in intact families. Stepchildren were less likely to be in stepparents' social networks, and stepparents provided less help with childcare for grandchildren than they did to their biological children. Relationship closeness and looking after grandchildren increased the probability of non-financial support to older parents, regardless of whether the donor was a natural child or a stepchild.

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Rezvani Nejad S, Borjali A, Khanjani M, et al (2021)

Belief in an Afterlife Influences Altruistic Helping Intentions in Alignment With Adaptive Tendencies.

Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 19(2):14747049211011745.

Evolutionary definitions of altruism are only concerned with reproductive consequences and not motives or other psychological mechanisms, making them ideal for generalization to all forms of organisms. Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory explains altruistic behavior toward genetic relatives and has generated extensive empirical support. Trivers' theory of reciprocal altruism helps explain patterns of helping among non-kin, and other research has demonstrated that human helping intentions follow fitness consequences from age-based reproductive value on altruism. The current study examines a novel psychological factor, belief in the afterlife, which may influence altruistic helping intentions. Belief in the afterlife was incorporated into a previous study design assessing the effects of a target's genetic relatedness and age-based reproductive value. The influences of inclusive fitness and target age were reproduced in a non-Western sample of participants (N = 300) in Iran. Belief in the afterlife predicted the overall confidence of risking one's life to save another across all targets, and also moderated the effects of genetic relatedness and target age. Rather than promoting altruism equitably or advantaging those favored by adaptive tendencies, higher belief in an afterlife aligned with these tendencies in promoting further favoritism toward close kin and younger targets with higher reproductive value.

RevDate: 2021-06-25
CmpDate: 2021-06-25

Smith J, RF Inglis (2021)

Evaluating kin and group selection as tools for quantitative analysis of microbial data.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1951):20201657.

Kin selection and multilevel selection theory are often used to interpret experiments about the evolution of cooperation and social behaviour among microbes. But while these experiments provide rich, detailed fitness data, theory is mostly used as a conceptual heuristic. Here, we evaluate how kin and multilevel selection theory perform as quantitative analysis tools. We reanalyse published microbial datasets and show that the canonical fitness models of both theories are almost always poor fits because they use statistical regressions misspecified for the strong selection and non-additive effects we show are widespread in microbial systems. We identify analytical practices in empirical research that suggest how theory might be improved, and show that analysing both individual and group fitness outcomes helps clarify the biology of selection. A data-driven approach to theory thus shows how kin and multilevel selection both have untapped potential as tools for quantitative understanding of social evolution in all branches of life.

RevDate: 2021-11-30
CmpDate: 2021-11-30

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

A solution to a sex ratio puzzle in Melittobia wasps.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Singletary B (2021)

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

Human nature (Hawthorne, N.Y.), 32(2):326-362.

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

RevDate: 2021-06-10
CmpDate: 2021-06-10

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

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

The Science of the total environment, 785:146955.

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

RevDate: 2021-09-29
CmpDate: 2021-08-02

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

Meta-analytic evidence that animals rarely avoid inbreeding.

Nature ecology & evolution, 5(7):949-964.

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

RevDate: 2021-11-01
CmpDate: 2021-11-01

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-10

Garcia-Costoya G, L Fromhage (2021)

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

Journal of evolutionary biology, 34(7):1087-1094.

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

RevDate: 2021-10-15
CmpDate: 2021-10-15

Flintham EO, Savolainen V, C Mullon (2021)

Dispersal Alters the Nature and Scope of Sexually Antagonistic Variation.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-05-20
CmpDate: 2021-05-20

González-Forero M, J Peña (2021)

Eusociality through conflict dissolution.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-10-26
CmpDate: 2021-10-26

Oldroyd BP, B Yagound (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-05-20
CmpDate: 2021-05-20

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

Experimental evidence that local interactions select against selfish behaviour.

Ecology letters, 24(6):1187-1192.

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

RevDate: 2021-08-11
CmpDate: 2021-08-11

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-08-11
CmpDate: 2021-08-11

Patten MM (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Levin SR, A Grafen (2021)

Extending the range of additivity in using inclusive fitness.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Galimov ER, D Gems (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Heinze J, J Giehr (2021)

The plasticity of lifespan in social insects.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-05-04
CmpDate: 2021-05-04

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

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

Behavioural processes, 186:104372.

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

RevDate: 2021-08-16
CmpDate: 2021-04-15

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

Diminishing returns drive altruists to help extended family.

Nature ecology & evolution, 5(4):468-479.

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

RevDate: 2021-04-23
CmpDate: 2021-04-23

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-05-20
CmpDate: 2021-05-20

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-08-12
CmpDate: 2021-06-24

Simonet C, L McNally (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-07-30
CmpDate: 2021-07-30

Kennedy P, AN Radford (2021)

Kin Blackmail as a Coercive Route to Altruism.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-08-26
CmpDate: 2021-08-26

Anten NPR, BJW Chen (2021)

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

Plant, cell & environment, 44(4):1059-1071.

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

RevDate: 2021-08-06
CmpDate: 2021-08-06

Avila P, Priklopil T, L Lehmann (2021)

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

Journal of theoretical biology, 526:110602.

Most traits expressed by organisms, such as gene expression profiles, developmental trajectories, behavioural sequences and reaction norms are function-valued traits (colloquially "phenotypically plastic traits"), since they vary across an individual's age and in response to various internal and/or external factors (state variables). Furthermore, most organisms live in populations subject to limited genetic mixing and are thus likely to interact with their relatives. We here formalise selection on genetically determined function-valued traits of individuals interacting in a group-structured population, by deriving the marginal version of Hamilton's rule for function-valued traits. This rule simultaneously gives a condition for the invasion of an initially rare mutant function-valued trait and its ultimate fixation in the population (invasion thus implies substitution). Hamilton's rule thus underlies the gradual evolution of function-valued traits and gives rise to necessary first-order conditions for their uninvadability (evolutionary stability). We develop a novel analysis using optimal control theory and differential game theory, to simultaneously characterise and compare the first-order conditions of (i) open-loop traits - functions of time (or age) only, and (ii) closed-loop (state-feedback) traits - functions of both time and state variables. We show that closed-loop traits can be represented as the simpler open-loop traits when individuals do not interact or when they interact with clonal relatives. Our analysis delineates the role of state-dependence and interdependence between individuals for trait evolution, which has implications to both life-history theory and social evolution.

RevDate: 2021-09-23
CmpDate: 2021-09-23

Correia HE, Abebe A, FS Dobson (2021)

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

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 43(4):e2000247.

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

RevDate: 2021-06-21
CmpDate: 2021-06-21

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

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

Molecular ecology, 30(5):1311-1321.

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

RevDate: 2021-09-03

Seitz BM, Polack CW, RR Miller (2020)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-09-07
CmpDate: 2021-09-07

Gutiérrez EG, Vivas-Toro I, Carmona-Ruíz D, et al (2021)

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

Integrative zoology, 16(5):646-658.

Ectophylla alba is a tent-making bat that roosts in mixed-sex clusters comprising adults and offspring. Our goal was to determine the genetic identity of individuals belonging to different roosting groups. We tested the hypothesis of kin selection as a major force structuring group composition. We used 9 microsatellites designed for E. alba to determine the genetic identity and probability of parentage of individuals. We analyzed parentage and kinship using the software ML-Relate, GenAIEx, and Cervus. The obtained relationship probabilities (0.5) revealed a clear maternal relationship between female adults and offspring with allele compatibility, and at least 5 relationships between male adults and pups. We found a low degree of relatedness within roosting groups. Between roosting groups at different sites, the mean probability of a half-sibling relationship ranged from 0.214 to 0.244 and, for full-sibling relationship, from 0.383 to 0.553. Genetically, adult individuals were poorly related within clusters, and kinship as an evolutionary force could not explain group membership.

RevDate: 2021-08-30
CmpDate: 2021-08-30

Siracusa ER, Boutin S, Dantzer B, et al (2021)

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

Current biology : CB, 31(2):438-445.e3.

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

RevDate: 2021-06-21
CmpDate: 2021-06-21

Galbraith DA, Ma R, CM Grozinger (2021)

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

Molecular ecology, 30(4):1029-1041.

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

RevDate: 2021-04-28

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-10-27
CmpDate: 2021-10-27

Tanskanen AO, M Danielsbacka (2021)

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

Journal of biosocial science, 53(6):968-971.

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

RevDate: 2021-08-30
CmpDate: 2021-06-21

Ndhlovu A, Durand PM, G Ramsey (2021)

Programmed cell death as a black queen in microbial communities.

Molecular ecology, 30(5):1110-1119.

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

RevDate: 2021-08-30
CmpDate: 2021-08-30

Rodrigues AMM, Estrela S, SP Brown (2021)

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

Journal of evolutionary biology, 34(2):352-363.

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

RevDate: 2021-07-27
CmpDate: 2021-07-27

Benler S, EV Koonin (2020)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Lecocq de Pletincx N, S Aron (2020)

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

Insects, 11(11):.

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

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Vitt S, Hiller J, T Thünken (2020)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-12-01
CmpDate: 2021-01-14

Kay T, Keller L, L Lehmann (2020)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Schausberger P, Y Sato (2020)

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

Biology, 9(11):.

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

RevDate: 2021-07-29
CmpDate: 2021-07-29

Gardner A, ICW Hardy (2020)

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

Journal of evolutionary biology, 33(12):1806-1812.

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

RevDate: 2020-12-18
CmpDate: 2020-12-18

Madgwick PG (2020)

Spite and the Geometry of Negative Relatedness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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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