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Bibliography on: Kin Selection

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 14 Nov 2022 at 02:04 Created: 

Kin Selection

Wikipedia: Kin selection is the evolutionary strategy that favours the reproductive success of an organism's relatives, even at a cost to the organism's own survival and reproduction. Kin altruism is altruistic behaviour whose evolution is driven by kin selection. Kin selection is an instance of inclusive fitness, which combines the number of offspring produced with the number an individual can produce by supporting others, such as siblings. Charles Darwin discussed the concept of kin selection in his 1859 book, The Origin of Species, where he reflected on the puzzle of sterile social insects, such as honey bees, which leave reproduction to their mothers, arguing that a selection benefit to related organisms (the same "stock") would allow the evolution of a trait that confers the benefit but destroys an individual at the same time. R.A. Fisher in 1930 and J.B.S. Haldane in 1932 set out the mathematics of kin selection, with Haldane famously joking that he would willingly die for two brothers or eight cousins. In 1964, W.D. Hamilton popularised the concept and the major advance in the mathematical treatment of the phenomenon by George R. Price which has become known as "Hamilton's rule". In the same year John Maynard Smith used the actual term kin selection for the first time. According to Hamilton's rule, kin selection causes genes to increase in frequency when the genetic relatedness of a recipient to an actor multiplied by the benefit to the recipient is greater than the reproductive cost to the actor.

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

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2022-11-09

Penndorf J, Ewart KM, Klump BC, et al (2022)

Social network analysis reveals context-dependent kin relationships in wild sulphur-crested cockatoos, Cacatua galerita.

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

1. A preference to associate with kin facilitates inclusive fitness benefits, and increased tolerance or cooperation between kin may be an added benefit of group living. Many species exhibit preferred associations with kin, however it is often hard to disentangle active preferences from passive overlap, for example caused by limited dispersal or inheritance of social position. 2. Many parrots exhibit social systems consisting of pair-bonded individuals foraging in variably sized fission-fusion flocks within larger communal roosts of hundreds of individuals. Previous work has shown that, despite these fission-fusion dynamics, individuals can exhibit long-term preferred foraging associations outside their pair-bonds. Yet the underlying drivers of these social preferences remains largely unknown. 3. In this study, we use a network approach to examine the influence of kinship on social associations and interactions in wild, communally roosting sulphur-crested cockatoos, Cacatua galerita. We recorded roost co-membership, social associations and interactions in 561 individually marked birds across three neighbouring roosts. We then collected genetic samples from 205 cockatoos, and conducted a relationship analysis to construct a kinship network. Finally, we tested correlations between kinship and four social networks: association, affiliative, low-intensity aggression, and high-intensity aggression. 4. Our result showed that while roosting groups were clearly defined, they showed little genetic differentiation or kin structuring. Between roost movement was high, with juveniles, especially females, repeatedly moving between roosts. Both within roosting communities, and when visiting different roosts, individuals preferentially associated with kin. Supporting this, individuals were also more likely to allopreen kin. However, contrary to expectation, individuals preferred to direct aggression towards kin, with this effect only observed when individuals shared roost membership. 5. By measuring social networks within and between large roosting groups, we could remove potential effects of passive spatial overlap on kin structuring. Our study reveals that sulphur-crested cockatoos actively prefer to associate with kin, both within and between roosting groups. By examining this across different interaction types, we further demonstrate that sulphur-crested cockatoos exhibit behavioural and context-dependent interaction rules towards kin. Our results help reveal the drivers of social association in this species, while adding to the evidence for social complexity in parrots.

RevDate: 2022-11-08

Han B, Wei Q, Amiri E, et al (2022)

The molecular basis of socially induced egg size plasticity in honey bees.

eLife, 11: pii:80499 [Epub ahead of print].

Reproduction involves the investment of resources into offspring. Although variation in reproductive effort often affects the number of offspring, adjustments of propagule size are also found in numerous species, including the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera. However, the proximate causes of these adjustments are insufficiently understood, especially in oviparous species with complex social organization in which adaptive evolution is shaped by kin selection. Here, we show in a series of experiments that queens predictably and reversibly increase egg size in small colonies and decrease egg size in large colonies, while their ovary size changes in the opposite direction. Additional results suggest that these effects cannot solely explained by egg laying rate and are due to the queens' perception of colony size. Egg size plasticity is associated with quantitative changes of 290 ovarian proteins, most of which relate to energy metabolism, protein transport, and cytoskeleton. Based on functional and network analyses, we further study the small GTPase Rho1 as a candidate regulator of egg size. Spatio-temporal expression analysis via RNAscope® and qPCR supports an important role of Rho1 in egg size determination, and subsequent RNAi-mediated gene knock-down confirmed that Rho1 has a major effect on egg size in honey bees. These results elucidate how the social environment of the honey bee colony may be translated into a specific cellular process to adjust maternal investment into eggs. It remains to be studied how widespread this mechanism is and whether it has consequences for population dynamics and epigenetic influences on offspring phenotype in honey bees and other species.

RevDate: 2022-11-07

Cordoni G, Comin M, Collarini E, et al (2022)

Domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) engage in non-random post-conflict affiliation with third parties: cognitive and functional implications.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

In social mammals, conflict resolution involves the reunion of former opponents (aggressor and victim) after an aggressive event (reconciliation) or post-conflict triadic contacts with a third party, started by either opponent (solicited-TSC) or spontaneously offered by the third party (unsolicited-TUC). These post-conflict strategies can serve different functions, including consolation (specifically when TUCs reduce the victim's anxiety). We investigated the possible presence and modulating factors of such strategies on semi-free ranging pigs (Sus scrofa; N = 104), housed at the ethical farm Parva Domus (Cavagnolo, Italy). Kinship was known. Reconciliation was present and mainly occurred between weakly related pigs to possibly improve tolerant cohabitation. Triadic contacts (all present except aggressor TSCs) mostly occurred between close kin. TSCs enacted by victims reduced neither their post-conflict anxiety behaviors nor further attacks by the previous aggressor, possibly because TSCs remained largely unreciprocated. TUCs towards aggressors did not reduce aggressor post-conflict anxiety but limited aggression redirection towards third parties. TUCs towards the victim reduced the victim but not the third-party's anxiety. However, TUCs may also provide inclusive fitness benefits to third parties by benefiting close kin. In sum, pigs engaged in non-random solicited/unsolicited triadic contacts, which suggests that pigs might possess socio-emotional regulation abilities to change their own or others' experience and elements of social appraisal, necessary to detect the emotional arousal of relevant others and (in case of TUCs) take the agency to restore homeostasis.

RevDate: 2022-11-07

Wang X, A Harrison (2022)

Non-kin selection enhances complexity in cooperation: A unified quantitative law.

Computational biology and chemistry, 101:107782 pii:S1476-9271(22)00162-1 [Epub ahead of print].

How cooperation evolves in the presence of selfishness is a core problem in evolutionary biology. Selfish individuals tend to benefit themselves, which makes it harder to maintain cooperation between unrelated individuals and for living systems to evolve towards complex organizations. The general evolutionary model presented here identifies that non-kin selection is the root cause for cooperation between unrelated individuals and can enable and maintain higher complexity of biological organizations (the coexistence of more individuals of different types). The maintained number of genotypes within a cooperation organization is shown to follow a universal exponential law as a quantitative function of the population size and non-kin selection strength, showing a gene-pool-size invariance. Our results highlight that non-kin selection may be a hallmark of biological evolution, and play an important role in shaping life's potentials.

RevDate: 2022-11-05

Hammer TJ, Easton-Calabria A, NA Moran (2022)

Microbiome assembly and maintenance across the lifespan of bumble bee workers.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

How a host's microbiome changes over its lifespan can influence development and aging. As these temporal patterns have only been described in detail for a handful of hosts, an important next step is to compare microbiome succession more broadly and investigate why it varies. Here we characterize the temporal dynamics and stability of the bumble bee worker gut microbiome. Bumble bees have simple and host-specific gut microbiomes, and their microbial dynamics may influence health and pollination services. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing, qPCR, and metagenomics to characterize gut microbiomes over the lifespan of Bombus impatiens workers. We also sequenced gut transcriptomes to examine host factors that may control the microbiome. At the community level, microbiome assembly is highly predictable and similar to patterns of primary succession observed in the human gut. But at the strain level, partitioning of bacterial variants among colonies suggests stochastic colonization events similar to those observed in flies and nematodes. We also find strong differences in temporal dynamics among symbiont species, suggesting ecological differences among microbiome members in colonization and persistence. Finally, we show that both the gut microbiome and host transcriptome-including expression of key immunity genes-stabilize, as opposed to senesce, with age. We suggest that in highly social groups such as bumble bees, maintenance of both microbiomes and immunity contribute to the inclusive fitness of workers, and thus remain under selection even in old age. Our findings provide a foundation for exploring the mechanisms and functional outcomes of bee microbiome succession.

RevDate: 2022-11-04

Biernaskie JM (2022)

Kin selection theory and the design of cooperative crops.

Evolutionary applications, 15(10):1555-1564 pii:EVA13418.

In agriculture and plant breeding, plant traits may be favoured because they benefit neighbouring plants and ultimately increase total crop yield. This idea of promoting cooperation among crop plants has existed almost as long as W.D. Hamilton's inclusive fitness (kin selection) theory, the leading framework for explaining cooperation in biology. However, kin selection thinking has not been adequately applied to the idea of cooperative crops. Here, I give an overview of modern kin selection theory and consider how it explains three key strategies for designing cooperative crops: (1) selection for a less-competitive plant type (a 'communal ideotype'); (2) group-level selection for yield; and (3) exploiting naturally selected cooperation. The first two strategies, using artificial selection, have been successful in the past but suffer from limitations that could hinder future progress. Instead, I propose an alternative strategy and a new 'colonial ideotype' that exploits past natural selection for cooperation among the modules (e.g., branches or stems) of individual plants. More generally, I suggest that Hamiltonian agriculture-a kin selection view of agriculture and plant breeding-transforms our understanding of how to improve crops of the future.

RevDate: 2022-10-19

Barreto Filho MM, Vieira HH, Morris JJ, et al (2022)

Species-specific effects and the ecological role of programmed cell death in the microalgae Ankistrodesmus (Sphaeropleales, Selenastraceae).

Biology letters, 18(10):20220259.

Reports of programmed cell death (PCD) in phytoplankton raise questions about the ecological evolutionary role of cell death in these organisms. We induced PCD by nitrogen deprivation and unregulated cell death (non-PCD) in one strain of the green microalga Ankistrodesmus densus and investigated the effects of the cell death supernatants on phylogenetically related co-occurring organisms using growth rates and maximum biomass as proxies of fitness. PCD-released materials from A. densus CCMA-UFSCar-3 significantly increased growth rates of two conspecific strains compared to healthy culture (HC) supernatants and improved the maximum biomass of all A. densus strains compared to related species. Although growth rates of non-A. densus with PCD supernatants were not statistically different from HC treatment, biomass gain was significantly reduced. Thus, the organic substances released by PCD, possibly nitrogenous compounds, could promote conspecific growth. These results support the argument that PCD may differentiate species or subtypes and increases inclusive fitness in this model unicellular chlorophyte. Further research, however, is needed to identify the responsible molecules and how they interact with cells to provide the PCD benefits.

RevDate: 2022-10-17

Khadraoui M, Merritt JR, Hoekstra HE, et al (2022)

Post-mating parental behavior trajectories differ across four species of deer mice.

PloS one, 17(10):e0276052 pii:PONE-D-22-22997.

Among species, parental behaviors vary in their magnitude, onset relative to reproduction, and sexual dimorphism. In deer mice (genus Peromyscus), while most species are promiscuous with low paternal care, monogamy and biparental care have evolved at least twice under different ecological conditions. Here, in a common laboratory setting, we monitored parental behaviors of males and females of two promiscuous (eastern deer mouse P. maniculatus and white-footed mouse P. leucopus) and two monogamous (oldfield mouse P. polionotus and California mouse P. californicus) species from before mating to after giving birth. In the promiscuous species, females showed parental behaviors largely after parturition, while males showed little parental care. In contrast, both sexes of monogamous species performed parental behaviors. However, while oldfield mice began to display parental behaviors before mating, California mice showed robust parental care behaviors only postpartum. These different parental-care trajectories in the two monogamous species align with their socioecology. Oldfield mice have overlapping home ranges with relatives, so infants they encounter, even if not their own, are likely to be closely related. By contrast, California mice disperse longer distances into exclusive territories with possibly unrelated neighbors, decreasing the inclusive fitness benefits of caring for unfamiliar pups before parenthood. Together, we find that patterns of parental behaviors in Peromyscus are consistent with predictions from inclusive fitness theory.

RevDate: 2022-10-11

Liu Y, Huang R, Chen Y, et al (2022)

Involvement of Flagellin in Kin Recognition between Bacillus velezensis Strains.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

Kin discrimination in nature is an effective way for bacteria to stabilize population cooperation and maintain progeny benefits. However, so far, the research on kin discrimination for Bacillus still has concentrated on "attack and defense" between cells and diffusion-dependent molecular signals of quorum sensing, kin recognition in Bacillus, however, has not been reported. To determine whether flagellar is involve in the kin recognition of Bacillus, we constructed Bacillus velezensis SQR9 assembled with flagellin of its kin and non-kin strains, and performed a swarm boundary assay with SQR9, then analyzed sequence variation of flagellin and other flagellar structural proteins in B. velezensis genus. Our results showed that SQR9 assembled with flagellin of non-kin strains was more likely to form a border phenotype with wild-type strain SQR9 in swarm assay than that of kin strains, and that non-kin strains had greater variation in flagellin than kin strains. In B. velezensis, these variations in flagellin were prevalent and had evolved significantly faster than other flagellar structural proteins. Therefore, we proposed that flagellin is an effective tool partly involved in the kin recognition of B. velezensis strains. IMPORTANCE Kin selection plays an important role in stabilizing population cooperation and maintaining the progeny benefits for bacteria in nature. However, to date, the role of flagellin in kin recognition in Bacillus has not been reported. By using rhizospheric Bacillus velezensis SQR9, we accomplished flagellin region interchange among its related strains, and show that flagellin acts as a mediator to distinguish kin from non-kin in B. velezensis. We demonstrated the polymorphism of flagellin in B. velezensis through alignment analysis of flagellin protein sequences. Therefore, it was proposed that flagellin was likely to be an effective tool for mediating kin recognition in B. velezensis.

RevDate: 2022-10-05

García-Ruiz I, M Taborsky (2022)

Group augmentation on trial: helpers in small groups enhance antipredator defence of eggs.

Biology letters, 18(10):20220170.

Mechanisms selecting for the evolution of cooperative breeding are hotly debated. While kin selection theory has been the central paradigm to explain the seemingly altruistic behaviour of non-reproducing helpers, it is increasingly recognized that direct fitness benefits may be highly relevant. The group augmentation hypothesis proposes that alloparental care may evolve to enhance group size when larger groups yield increased survival and/or reproductive success. However, there is a lack of empirical tests. Here we use the cooperatively breeding cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher, in which group size predicts survival and group stability, to test this hypothesis experimentally by prompting two cooperative tasks: defence against an egg predator and digging out sand from the breeding shelter. We controlled for alternative mechanisms such as kin selection, load lightening and coercion. As predicted by the group augmentation hypothesis, helpers increased defence against an egg predator in small compared with large groups. This difference was only evident in large helpers owing to size-specific task specialization. Furthermore, helpers showed more digging effort in the breeding chamber compared with alternative personal shelters, indicating that digging is an altruistic service to the dominant breeders.

RevDate: 2022-10-03

Scott TJ (2022)

Cooperation loci are more pleiotropic than private loci in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(41):e2214827119.

Pleiotropy may affect the maintenance of cooperation by limiting cheater mutants if such mutants lose other important traits. If pleiotropy limits cheaters, selection may favor cooperation loci that are more pleiotropic. However, the same should not be true for private loci with functions unrelated to cooperation. Pleiotropy in cooperative loci has mostly been studied with single loci and has not been measured on a wide scale or compared to a suitable set of control loci with private functions. I remedy this gap by comparing genomic measures of pleiotropy in previously identified cooperative and private loci in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. I found that cooperative loci in P. aeruginosa tended to be more pleiotropic than private loci according to the number of protein-protein interactions, the number of gene ontology terms, and gene expression specificity. These results show that pleiotropy may be a general way to limit cheating and that cooperation may shape pleiotropy in the genome.

RevDate: 2022-10-03

Grebe NM, Hirwa JP, Stoinski TS, et al (2022)

Mountain gorillas maintain strong affiliative biases for maternal siblings despite high male reproductive skew and extensive exposure to paternal kin.

eLife, 11: pii:80820.

Evolutionary theories predict that sibling relationships will reflect a complex balance of cooperative and competitive dynamics. In most mammals, dispersal and death patterns mean that sibling relationships occur in a relatively narrow window during development and/or only with same-sex individuals. Besides humans, one notable exception is mountain gorillas, in which non-sex-biased dispersal, relatively stable group composition, and the long reproductive tenures of alpha males mean that animals routinely reside with both maternally and paternally related siblings, of the same and opposite sex, throughout their lives. Using nearly 40,000 hr of behavioral data collected over 14 years on 699 sibling and 1235 non-sibling pairs of wild mountain gorillas, we demonstrate that individuals have strong affiliative preferences for full and maternal siblings over paternal siblings or unrelated animals, consistent with an inability to discriminate paternal kin. Intriguingly, however, aggression data imply the opposite. Aggression rates were statistically indistinguishable among all types of dyads except one: in mixed-sex dyads, non-siblings engaged in substantially more aggression than siblings of any type. This pattern suggests mountain gorillas may be capable of distinguishing paternal kin but nonetheless choose not to affiliate with them over non-kin. We observe a preference for maternal kin in a species with a high reproductive skew (i.e. high relatedness certainty), even though low reproductive skew (i.e. low relatedness certainty) is believed to underlie such biases in other non-human primates. Our results call into question reasons for strong maternal kin biases when paternal kin are identifiable, familiar, and similarly likely to be long-term groupmates, and they may also suggest behavioral mismatches at play during a transitional period in mountain gorilla society.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Kulich HR, Bass SR, Piva SR, et al (2022)

Preliminary feasibility and acute physiological effects of a single session of upper limb vibration training for persons with spinal cord injury.

The journal of spinal cord medicine [Epub ahead of print].

CONTEXT: Strong upper limb musculature is essential for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) to operate a manual wheelchair and live independently. Targeted upper limb vibration may be a viable exercise modality to build muscle efficiently while eliminating some of the barriers associated with exercise for persons with SCI.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess preliminary feasibility of completing a single exercise session of upper limb vibration and compare the acute physiological effects to a single session of standard dumbbell resistance exercise.

METHODS: Individuals with SCI performed seven upper limb exercises (1) isometrically using a vibrating dumbbell at 30 Hz for 60 s (n = 22) and (2) using a standard isotonic resistance protocol (n = 15).

RESULTS: Nineteen (86.4%) of 22 participants were able to perform all vibration exercises at 30 Hz but hold time success rates varied from 33% (side flies and front raises) to 95% (internal rotation). No significant differences were found between vibration exercise and standard resistance protocol for blood lactate, power output, and heart rate (P > 0.05). Perceptions of the training were positive, with most participants (>70%) expressing interest to train with vibration in the future.

CONCLUSIONS: Vibration training was not feasible for all participants, suggesting an individualized approach to starting weight and progression may be necessary. Similar acute physiological changes were seen between vibration exercise and standard resistance protocol, suggesting they could have similar benefits. Additional research is needed to determine if vibration exercise is feasible and beneficial to incorporate into a long-term training program.

RevDate: 2022-09-21
CmpDate: 2022-09-19

Simpson CR (2022)

Social Support and Network Formation in a Small-Scale Horticulturalist Population.

Scientific data, 9(1):570.

Evolutionary studies of cooperation in traditional human societies suggest that helping family and responding in kind when helped are the primary mechanisms for informally distributing resources vital to day-to-day survival (e.g., food, knowledge, money, childcare). However, these studies generally rely on forms of regression analysis that disregard complex interdependences between aid, resulting in the implicit assumption that kinship and reciprocity drive the emergence of entire networks of supportive social bonds. Here I evaluate this assumption using individual-oriented simulations of network formation (i.e., Stochastic Actor-Oriented Models). Specifically, I test standard predictions of cooperation derived from the evolutionary theories of kin selection and reciprocal altruism alongside well-established sociological predictions around the self-organisation of asymmetric relationships. Simulations are calibrated to exceptional public data on genetic relatedness and the provision of tangible aid amongst all 108 adult residents of a village of indigenous horticulturalists in Nicaragua (11,556 ordered dyads). Results indicate that relatedness and reciprocity are markedly less important to whom one helps compared to the supra-dyadic arrangement of the tangible aid network itself.

RevDate: 2022-09-13

Cenzer M, LK M'Gonigle (2022)

Co-evolution of dormancy and dispersal in spatially autocorrelated landscapes.

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

The evolution of dispersal can be driven by spatial processes, such as landscape structure, and temporal processes, such as disturbance. Dormancy, or dispersal in time, is generally thought to evolve in response to temporal processes. In spite of broad empirical and theoretical evidence of trade-offs between dispersal and dormancy, we lack evidence that spatial structure can drive the evolution of dormancy. Here, we develop a simulation-based model of the joint evolution of dispersal and dormancy in spatially heterogeneous landscapes. We show that dormancy and dispersal are each favored under different landscape conditions, but not simultaneously under any of the conditions we tested. We further show that, when dispersal distances are short, dormancy can evolve directly in response to landscape structure. In this case, selection is primarily driven by benefits associated with avoiding kin competition. Our results are similar in both highly simplified and realistically complex landscapes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2022-09-11
CmpDate: 2022-09-09

Ibrahim AM (2022)

The conditional defector strategies can violate the most crucial supporting mechanisms of cooperation.

Scientific reports, 12(1):15157.

Cooperation is essential for all domains of life. Yet, ironically, it is intrinsically vulnerable to exploitation by cheats. Hence, an explanatory necessity spurs many evolutionary biologists to search for mechanisms that could support cooperation. In general, cooperation can emerge and be maintained when cooperators are sufficiently interacting with themselves. This communication provides a kind of assortment and reciprocity. The most crucial and common mechanisms to achieve that task are kin selection, spatial structure, and enforcement (punishment). Here, we used agent-based simulation models to investigate these pivotal mechanisms against conditional defector strategies. We concluded that the latter could easily violate the former and take over the population. This surprising outcome may urge us to rethink the evolution of cooperation, as it illustrates that maintaining cooperation may be more difficult than previously thought. Moreover, empirical applications may support these theoretical findings, such as invading the cooperator population of pathogens by genetically engineered conditional defectors, which could be a potential therapy for many incurable diseases.

RevDate: 2022-09-06

Fan Y, Zhang R, Zhang Y, et al (2022)

The effects of genetic distance, nutrient conditions, and recognition ways on outcomes of kin recognition in Glechoma longituba.

Frontiers in plant science, 13:950758.

Kin recognition might help plants decrease competitive cost and improve inclusive fitness with close genes; thus it might interact with environmental factors to affect communities. Whether and how various factors, such as the genetic distance of neighbors, environmental stressors, or the way a plant recognizes its neighbors, might modify plant growth strategies remains unclear. To answer these questions, we conducted experiments in which ramets of a clonal plant, Glechoma longituba, were grown adjacent to different genetically related neighbors (clone kin / close kin / distant kin) in different nutrient conditions (high / medium / low), or with only root exudates from pre-treatment in culture solution. By comparing competitive traits, we found that: (1) kin recognition in G. longituba was enhanced with closer genetic distance; (2) the outcomes of kin recognition were influenced by the extent of nutrient shortage; (3) kin recognition helped to alleviate the nutrient shortage effect; (4) kin recognition via root exudates affected only below-ground growth. Our results provide new insights on the potential for manipulating the outcome of kin recognition by altering neighbor genetic distance, nutrient conditions and recognition ways. Moreover, kin recognition can help plants mitigate the effects of nutrient shortage, with potential implications in agricultural research.

RevDate: 2022-09-03

Li H, Tan Y, D Zhang (2022)

Genomic discovery and structural dissection of a novel type of polymorphic toxin system in gram-positive bacteria.

Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 20:4517-4531.

Bacteria have developed several molecular conflict systems to facilitate kin recognition and non-kin competition to gain advantages in the acquisition of growth niches and of limited resources. One such example is a large class of so-called polymorphic toxin systems (PTSs), which comprise a variety of the toxin proteins secreted via T2SS, T5SS, T6SS, T7SS and many others. These systems are highly divergent in terms of sequence/structure, domain architecture, toxin-immunity association, and organization of the toxin loci, which makes it difficult to identify and characterize novel systems using traditional experimental and bioinformatic strategies. In recent years, we have been developing and utilizing unique genome-mining strategies and pipelines, based on the organizational principles of both domain architectures and genomic loci of PTSs, for an effective and comprehensive discovery of novel PTSs, dissection of their components, and prediction of their structures and functions. In this study, we present our systematic discovery of a new type of PTS (S8-PTS) in several gram-positive bacteria. We show that the S8-PTS contains three components: a peptidase of the S8 family (subtilases), a polymorphic toxin, and an immunity protein. We delineated the typical organization of these polymorphic toxins, in which a N-terminal signal peptide is followed by a potential receptor binding domain, BetaH, and one of 16 toxin domains. We classified each toxin domain by the distinct superfamily to which it belongs, identifying nine BECR ribonucleases, one Restriction Endonuclease, one HNH nuclease, two novel toxin domains homologous to the VOC enzymes, one toxin domain with the Frataxin-like fold, and several other unique toxin families such as Ntox33 and HicA. Accordingly, we identified 20 immunity families and classified them into different classes of folds. Further, we show that the S8-PTS-associated peptidases are analogous to many other processing peptidases found in T5SS, T7SS, T9SS, and many proprotein-processing peptidases, indicating that they function to release the toxin domains during secretion. The S8-PTSs are mostly found in animal and plant-associated bacteria, including many pathogens. We propose S8-PTSs will facilitate the competition of these bacteria with other microbes or contribute to the pathogen-host interactions.

RevDate: 2022-08-30

Salem AAMS, Abdelsattar M, Abu Al-Diyar M, et al (2022)

Altruistic behaviors and cooperation among gifted adolescents.

Frontiers in psychology, 13:945766.

The present study is a differential study that describes the nature of the relationship between cooperation and altruistic behavior in a sample of gifted adolescents in three universities in Egypt and Kuwait University. It also identified the differences between males/females, and senior students/junior students in both cooperation and altruism. A total of 237 gifted adolescents-with average age 21.3 ± SD 2.6 years-from three Egyptian universities: Alexandria University, Sadat Academy for Management Sciences, and Suez University (in Egypt), and Kuwait University, were involved in this study. Measures used in the study include the Scales for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students (SRBCSS), Generative Altruism Scale (GAlS), and The Cooperative/Competitive Strategy Scale (CCSS). Results revealed that there is a significant positive relationship between altruism and cooperation among gifted adolescents. Also, findings show that there are statistically significant differences between males and females in both altruism and cooperation. In addition, there are differences statistically significant between senior students and junior students in both altruism and cooperation in favor of senior students. It is recommended that altruism and cooperation intervention-based programs should be designed to increase the adaptive behaviors of adolescents.

RevDate: 2022-08-27
CmpDate: 2022-08-25

Helle S, Tanskanen AO, Pettay JE, et al (2022)

The interplay of grandparental investment according to the survival status of other grandparent types.

Scientific reports, 12(1):14390.

Inclusive fitness theory predicts that grandparental investment in grandchildren aims to maximise their inclusive fitness. Owing to an increasing overlap between successive generations in modern affluent populations, the importance of grandparental investment remains high. Despite the growing literature, there is limited knowledge regarding how the survival status of different grandparent types influences each other's investment in grandchildren. This question was studied by using the Involved Grandparenting and Child Well-Being Survey, which provided nationally representative data of English and Welsh adolescents aged 11-16-years. We applied Bayesian structural equation modeling (BSEM) where grandparental investment in grandchildren was modelled using multi-indicator unobserved latent variable. Our results showed that maternal grandmothers' investment was increased by having a living maternal grandfather but not vice versa. Having a living maternal grandmother was also associated with decreased investment of paternal grandparents while the opposite was not found. These findings indicate that the association between the survival status of other grandparents and the focal grandparents' investment varies between grandparent types.

RevDate: 2022-08-19

Grof-Tisza P, Kruizenga N, Tervahauta AI, et al (2022)

Volatile-Mediated Induced and Passively Acquired Resistance in Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata).

Journal of chemical ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Plants produce a diversity of secondary metabolites including volatile organic compounds. Some species show discrete variation in these volatile compounds such that individuals within a population can be grouped into distinct chemotypes. A few studies reported that volatile-mediated induced resistance is more effective between plants belonging to the same chemotype and that chemotypes are heritable. The authors concluded that the ability of plants to differentially respond to cues from related individuals that share the same chemotype is a form of kin recognition. These studies assumed plants were actively responding but did not test the mechanism of resistance. A similar result was possible through the passive adsorption and reemission of repellent or toxic VOCs by plants exposed to damage-induced plant volatiles (DIPVs). Here we conducted exposure experiments with five chemotypes of sagebrush in growth chambers; undamaged receiver plants were exposed to either filtered air or DIPVs from mechanically wounded branches. Receiver plants exposed to DIPVs experienced less herbivore damage, which was correlated with increased expression of genes involved in plant defense as well as increased emission of repellent VOCs. Plants belonging to two of the five chemotypes exhibited stronger resistance when exposed to DIPVs from plants of the same chemotypes compared to when DIPVs were from plants of a different chemotype. Moreover, some plants passively absorbed DIPVs and reemitted them, potentially conferring associational resistance. These findings support previous work demonstrating that sagebrush plants actively responded to alarm cues and that the strength of their response was dependent on the chemotypes of the plants involved. This study provides further support for kin recognition in plants but also identified volatile-mediated associational resistance as a passively acquired additional defense mechanism in sagebrush.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Berman CM (2022)

Monkey business: A girl's once strange dream.

Primates; journal of primatology, 63(5):463-481.

For close to 50 years, my research has focused on social relationships and social structure, particularly in macaques, and has been marked by a gradual broadening of scope. Supported by open-minded parents, I followed a once unconventional path into field primatology largely by ignoring distinct gender-based ideas about appropriate occupations for women that were prevalent when I was a child. Later, as Robert Hinde's PhD advisee, I benefited enormously from his mentoring and from the transformative experience he provided. I began by examining infant social development in free-ranging rhesus monkeys and the integration of infants into the kinship and dominance structures of their groups. I gradually branched out to look at (1) kinship and dominance in additional age classes and macaque species, (2) additional aspects of social structure (reciprocity, agonistic support, tolerance, cooperation, conflict management), (3) mechanisms and organizing principles (e.g., attraction to kin and high rank, intergenerational transmission, demography, reciprocity, social style, time constraints) and (4) evolutionary underpinnings of social relationships and structure (e.g., parental investment, kin selection, socioecology, phylogeny, biological markets). For much of this journey, I have been accompanied by talented PhD students who have enriched my experience and whom I am now proud to call colleagues and friends. It is gratifying to realize that my career choice is no longer considered as unconventional as it once was.

RevDate: 2022-08-09

Chokechaipaisarn C, A Gardner (2022)

Density-dependent dispersal promotes female-biased sex allocation in viscous populations.

Biology letters, 18(8):20220205.

A surprising result emerging from the theory of sex allocation is that the optimal sex ratio is predicted to be completely independent of the rate of dispersal. This striking invariance result has stimulated a huge amount of theoretical and empirical attention in the social evolution literature. However, this sex-allocation invariant has been derived under the assumption that an individual's dispersal behaviour is not modulated by population density. Here, we investigate how density-dependent dispersal shapes patterns of sex allocation in a viscous-population setting. Specifically, we find that if individuals are able to adjust their dispersal behaviour according to local population density, then they are favoured to do so, and this drives the evolution of female-biased sex allocation. This result obtains because, whereas under density-independent dispersal, population viscosity is associated not only with higher relatedness-which promotes female bias-but also with higher kin competition-which inhibits female bias-under density-dependent dispersal, the kin-competition consequences of a female-biased sex ratio are entirely abolished. We derive analytical results for the full range of group sizes and costs of dispersal, under haploid, diploid and haplodiploid modes of inheritance. These results show that population viscosity promotes female-biased sex ratios in the context of density-dependent dispersal.

RevDate: 2022-09-08
CmpDate: 2022-09-08

Hitchcock TJ, A Gardner (2022)

Paternal genome elimination promotes altruism in viscous populations.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 76(9):2191-2198.

Population viscosity has long been thought to promote the evolution of altruism. However, in the simplest scenarios, the potential for altruism is invariant with respect to dispersal-a surprising result that holds for haploidy, diploidy, and haplodiploidy (arrhenotoky). Here, we develop a kin-selection model to investigate how population viscosity affects the potential for altruism in species with male paternal genome elimination (PGE), exploring altruism enacted by both females and males, and both juveniles and adults. We find that (1) PGE promotes altruistic behaviors relative to the other inheritance systems, and to a degree that depends on the extent of paternal genome expression. (2) Under PGE, dispersal increases the potential for altruism in juveniles and decreases it in adults. (3) The genetics of PGE can lead to striking differences in sex-specific potentials for altruism, even in the absence of any sex differences in ecology.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Fréville H, Montazeaud G, Forst E, et al (2022)

Shift in beneficial interactions during crop evolution.

Evolutionary applications, 15(6):905-918.

Plant domestication can be viewed as a form of co-evolved interspecific mutualism between humans and crops for the benefit of the two partners. Here, we ask how this plant-human mutualism has, in turn, impacted beneficial interactions within crop species, between crop species, and between crops and their associated microbial partners. We focus on beneficial interactions resulting from three main mechanisms that can be promoted by manipulating genetic diversity in agrosystems: niche partitioning, facilitation, and kin selection. We show that a combination of factors has impacted either directly or indirectly plant-plant interactions during domestication and breeding, with a trend toward reduced benefits arising from niche partitioning and facilitation. Such factors include marked decrease of molecular and functional diversity of crops and other organisms present in the agroecosystem, mass selection, and increased use of chemical inputs. For example, the latter has likely contributed to the relaxation of selection pressures on nutrient-mobilizing traits such as those associated to root exudation and plant nutrient exchanges via microbial partners. In contrast, we show that beneficial interactions arising from kin selection have likely been promoted since the advent of modern breeding. We highlight several issues that need further investigation such as whether crop phenotypic plasticity has evolved and could trigger beneficial interactions in crops, and whether human-mediated selection has impacted cooperation via kin recognition. Finally, we discuss how plant breeding and agricultural practices can help promoting beneficial interactions within and between species in the context of agroecology where the mobilization of diversity and complexity of crop interactions is viewed as a keystone of agroecosystem sustainability.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-23

Micheletti AJC, Ge E, Zhou L, et al (2022)

Religious celibacy brings inclusive fitness benefits.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1977):20220965.

The influence of inclusive fitness interests on the evolution of human institutions remains unclear. Religious celibacy constitutes an especially puzzling institution, often deemed maladaptive. Here, we present sociodemographic data from an agropastoralist Buddhist population in western China, where parents sometimes sent a son to the monastery. We find that men with a monk brother father more children, and grandparents with a monk son have more grandchildren, suggesting that the practice is adaptive. We develop a model of celibacy to elucidate the inclusive fitness costs and benefits associated with this behaviour. We show that a minority of sons being celibate can be favoured if this increases their brothers' reproductive success, but only if the decision is under parental, rather than individual, control. These conditions apply to monks in our study site. Inclusive fitness considerations appear to play a key role in shaping parental preferences to adopt this cultural practice.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-16

Hearn LR, Davies OK, MP Schwarz (2022)

Extreme reproductive skew at the dawn of sociality is consistent with inclusive fitness theory but problematic for routes to eusociality.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1976):20220652.

To understand the earliest stages of social evolution, we need to identify species that are undergoing the initial steps into sociality. Amphylaeus morosus is the only unambiguously known social species in the bee family Colletidae and represents an independent origin of sociality within the Apoidea. This allows us to investigate the selective factors promoting the transition from solitary to social nesting. Using genome-wide SNP genotyping, we infer robust pedigree relationships to identify maternity of brood and intracolony relatedness for colonies at the end of the reproductive season. We show that A. morosus forms both matrifilial and full-sibling colonies, both involving complete or almost complete monopolization over reproduction. In social colonies, the reproductive primary was also the primary forager with the secondary female remaining in the nest, presumably as a guard. Social nesting provided significant protection against parasitism and increased brood survivorship in general. We show that secondary females gain large indirect fitness benefits from defensive outcomes, enough to satisfy the conditions of inclusive fitness theory, despite an over-production of males in social colonies. These results suggest an avenue to sociality that involves high relatedness and, very surprisingly, extreme reproductive skew in its earliest stages and raises important questions about the evolutionary steps in pathways to eusociality.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

García-Ruiz I, Quiñones A, M Taborsky (2022)

The evolution of cooperative breeding by direct and indirect fitness effects.

Science advances, 8(21):eabl7853.

The evolution of cooperative breeding has been traditionally attributed to the effect of kin selection. While there is increasing empirical evidence that direct fitness benefits are relevant, the relative importance of alternative selection mechanisms is largely obscure. Here, we model the coevolution of the cornerstones of cooperative breeding, delayed dispersal, and alloparental care, across different ecological scenarios while allowing individuals to adjust philopatry and helping levels. Our results suggest that (i) direct fitness benefits from grouping are the main driver for the evolution of philopatry; (ii) kin selection is mainly responsible for the emergence of alloparental care, but group augmentation can be a sufficient promoter in harsh environments; (iii) the coevolution of philopatry and alloparental care is subject to positive feedback; and (iv) age-dependent dispersal is triggered by both group benefits and relatedness. Model predictions are supported by empirical data and provide good opportunities for comparative analyses and experimental tests of causality.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

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.

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: 2022-09-02
CmpDate: 2022-07-06

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, 91(7):1521-1534.

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. 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. 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. 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 life span 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. We found a positive correlation between life span 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: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-04-21

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: 2022-04-19

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.

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: 2022-06-08
CmpDate: 2022-05-19

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, 65:100996.

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: 2022-07-16
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: 2022-06-03
CmpDate: 2022-06-03

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, 833:155098.

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: 2022-05-05
CmpDate: 2022-04-05

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: 2022-05-05
CmpDate: 2022-04-05

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: 2022-04-01

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.

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: 2022-03-29

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

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

Insects, 13(3):.

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: 2022-05-16
CmpDate: 2022-05-16

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: 2022-05-31
CmpDate: 2022-04-25

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, 44(5):e2200034.

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 ensued 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: 2022-05-02

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: 2022-03-11

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: 2022-08-23
CmpDate: 2022-03-11

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: 2022-05-16
CmpDate: 2022-05-16

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: 2022-07-16

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.

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: 2022-09-10
CmpDate: 2022-05-02

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.

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: 2022-04-22
CmpDate: 2022-04-22

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: 2022-04-29
CmpDate: 2022-04-29

Walter A, T Bilde (2022)

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, 35(3):391-399.

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: 2022-04-05
CmpDate: 2022-04-05

Rodrigues AMM, A Gardner (2022)

Reproductive value and the evolution of altruism.

Trends in ecology & evolution, 37(4):346-358.

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: 2022-04-08
CmpDate: 2022-04-08

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: 2022-04-11
CmpDate: 2022-04-11

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: 2022-03-16
CmpDate: 2022-03-16

Brodie ED, Cook PA, Costello RA, et al (2022)

Phenotypic Assortment Changes the Landscape of Selection.

The Journal of heredity, 113(1):91-101.

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: 2022-03-16
CmpDate: 2022-03-16

McGlothlin JW, DN Fisher (2022)

Social Selection and the Evolution of Maladaptation.

The Journal of heredity, 113(1):61-68.

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: 2022-04-01
CmpDate: 2022-03-31

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: 2022-05-31
CmpDate: 2022-03-14

Denton KK, Ram Y, MW Feldman (2022)

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

Theoretical population biology, 143:52-61.

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: 2022-03-21
CmpDate: 2022-03-21

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: 2022-02-18
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: 2022-03-18
CmpDate: 2022-03-18

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: 2022-03-14
CmpDate: 2022-03-14

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: 2022-07-31
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: 2022-03-14
CmpDate: 2022-03-14

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: 2022-08-26
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: 2022-08-12
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: 2022-04-06
CmpDate: 2022-04-06

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: 2022-05-31
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: 2022-05-06
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: 2022-07-16
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: 2022-07-16
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.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

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

ESP Support

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

ESP Rationale

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

ESP Goal

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

ESP Usage

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

ESP Content

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

ESP Help

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

ESP Plans

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

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
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Bellingham, WA 98226

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Papers in Classical Genetics

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

Digital Books

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


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


Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

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

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