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Crozier’s paradox suggests that genetic kin recognition will not be evolutionarily stable. The problem is that more common tags (markers) are more likely to be recognised and helped. This causes common tags to increase in frequency, and hence eliminates the genetic variability that is required for genetic kin recognition. It has therefore been assumed that genetic kin recognition can only be stable if there is some other factor maintaining tag diversity, such as the advantage of rare alleles in host-parasite interactions. We show that allowing for multiple social encounters before each social interaction can eliminate Crozier’s paradox, because it allows individuals with rare tags to find others with the same tag. We also show that rare tags are better indicators of relatedness, and hence better at helping individuals avoid interactions with non-cooperative cheats. Consequently, genetic kin recognition provides an advantage to rare tags that maintains tag diversity, and stabilises itself.


Journal article


Nature Communications


Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)

Publication Date