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Kin selection describes a process by which a gene can spread through a population through social effects on reproductive success. Kin selection provides an explanation for how a gene for altruism can spread even if it lowers the fitness of the carrier. The process depends on the fact that beneficiaries of an altruistic act have a higher probability of sharing a gene relative to the population as a whole. The basic theory of kin selection is outlined, examples of evidence supporting the theory given, and general applications of the theory are described.

Original publication





Book title

Encyclopedia of Ecology: Volume 1-4, Second Edition

Publication Date





256 - 259