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Sociobiology in turmoil again

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (2010) Sociobiology in turmoil again. In: Current Science (Bangalore), 99 (8). pp. 1036-1041.

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Abstract

Altruism is defined as any behaviour that lowers the Darwinian fitness of the actor while increasing that of the recipient. Such altruism (especially in the form of lifetime sterility exhibited by sterile workers in eusocial insects such as ants, bees, wasps and termites) has long been considered a major difficulty for the theory of natural selection. In the 1960s W. D. Hamilton potentially solved this problem by defining a new measure of fitness that he called inclusive fitness, which also included the effect of an individual's action on the fitness of genetic relatives. This has come to be known as inclusive fitness theory, Hamilton's rule or kin selection. E. O. Wilson almost single-handedly popularized this new approach in the 1970s and thus helped create a large body of new empirical research and a large community of behavioural ecologists and kin selectionists. Adding thrill and drama to our otherwise sombre lives, Wilson is now leading a frontal attack on Hamilton's approach, claiming that the inclusive fitness theory is not as mathematically general as the standard natural selection theory, has led to no additional biological insights and should therefore be abandoned. The world cannot but sit up and take notice.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Keywords: Altruism; eusociality; Hamilton's rule; inclusive fitness theory; kin selection; sociobiology
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Contemporary Studies
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2010 10:20
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2010 10:23
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/34335

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