Only full-sibling families evolved eusociality

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Jacobus J Boomsma, Madeleine Beekman, Charlie K Cornwallis, Ashleigh S Griffin, Luke Holman, William O H Hughes, Laurent Keller, Benjamin P Oldroyd, Francis L W Ratnieks

Arising from M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita & E. O. Wilson 466, 1057-1062 (2010); Nowak et al. reply. The paper by Nowak et al. has the evolution of eusociality as its title, but it is mostly about something else. It argues against inclusive fitness theory and offers an alternative modelling approach that is claimed to be more fundamental and general, but which, we believe, has no practical biological meaning for the evolution of eusociality. Nowak et al. overlook the robust empirical observation that eusociality has only arisen in clades where mothers are associated with their full-sibling offspring; that is, in families where the average relatedness of offspring to siblings is as high as to their own offspring, independent of population structure or ploidy. We believe that this omission makes the paper largely irrelevant for understanding the evolution of eusociality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature
Volume471
Issue number7339
Pages (from-to)E4-5; author reply E9-10
Number of pages4
ISSN0028-0836
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Research areas

  • Altruism, Animals, Biological Evolution, Cooperative Behavior, Female, Game Theory, Genetic Fitness, Genetics, Population, Male, Models, Biological, Reproducibility of Results, Reproduction, Selection, Genetic, Sex Ratio, Siblings

ID: 40349571