Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Fields such as behavioural and evolutionary ecology are built on the assumption that natural selection leads to organisms that behave as if they are trying to maximise their fitness. However, there is considerable evidence for selfish genetic elements that change the behaviour of individuals to increase their own transmission. How can we reconcile this contradiction? Here we show that: (1) when selfish genetic elements have a greater impact at the individual level, they are more likely to be suppressed, and suppression spreads more quickly; (2) selection on selfish genetic elements drives them towards a greater impact at the individual level, making them more likely to be suppressed; (3) the majority interest within the genome generally prevails over ‘cabals’ of a few genes, irrespective of genome size, mutation rate and the sophistication of trait distorters. Overall, our results suggest that even when there is the potential for considerable genetic conflict, this often has negligible impact at the individual level.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature Communications

Publisher

Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)

Publication Date

25/10/2019

Addresses

Thomas Scott, University of Oxford, Zoology, 11a Mansfield Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3SZ, United Kingdom

Keywords

Evolutionary Theory, Social Evolution, Population Genetics