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Principles of Social Evolution$
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Andrew F.G. Bourke

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231157.001.0001

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The major transitions in light of inclusive fitness theory

The major transitions in light of inclusive fitness theory

(p.74) 3 The major transitions in light of inclusive fitness theory
Principles of Social Evolution

Andrew F. G. Bourke

Oxford University Press

Major transitions involving different species or unrelated members of the same species (egalitarian transitions) are always cooperative, with both partners retaining the ability to reproduce. Only transitions involving relatives (fraternal transitions) can be altruistic, with one partner losing its ability to reproduce. The stability of social groups relies on their members having a coincidence of fitness interests, which occurs via either shared reproductive fate (in non-relatives) or shared genes (in relatives). Conflict resolution within groups, which serves to alleviate the tragedy of the commons, occurs through two broad mechanisms. The first is self-limitation, e.g., when relatedness to other group members decreases individual selfishness; and the second is coercion. A life cycle with a bottleneck (e.g., development from a single cell) increases relatedness and hence reduces potential conflict, whereas a life cycle without a bottleneck (e.g., development from a group of cells) reduces relatedness and hence increases potential conflict.

Keywords:   bottleneck, coercion, fitness interests, egalitarian transition, fraternal transition, self-limitation, shared genes, shared reproductive fate

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