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Natural Selection of Individually Harmful Social Adaptations Among Sibs With Special Reference to Social Insects

George C. Williams and Doris C. Williams
Evolution
Vol. 11, No. 1 (Mar., 1957), pp. 32-39
DOI: 10.2307/2405809
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2405809
Page Count: 8
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Natural Selection of Individually Harmful Social Adaptations Among Sibs With Special Reference to Social Insects
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Abstract

An individual that actively contributes, at its own expense, to the welfare of others of the same species is called a social donor. Such an individual in a sibling group is at a selective disadvantage in competition with its non-donor brothers and sisters. Genes that determine such characters may be favored, however, in competition between sibships. A mathematical model is used to illustrate how adverse selection within sibships might be balanced by favorable selection between sibships. We advance an explanation for the origin of insect societies in terms of this model. We feel that it is unnecessary to postulate selection at a higher level than the family to explain the origin of insect societies.

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