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Individuals are predicted to behave more altruistically and less competitively toward their relatives, because they share a relatively high proportion of their genes (e.g., one-half for siblings and one-eighth for cousins). Consequently, by helping a relative reproduce, an individual passes its genes to the next generation, increasing their Darwinian fitness. This idea, termed kin selection, has been applied to a wide range of phenomena in systems ranging from replicating molecules to humans. Nevertheless, competition between relatives can reduce, and even totally negate, the kin-selected benefits of altruism toward relatives. Recent theoretical work has clarified the processes and selective forces underlying this effect and has demonstrated the generality of the effect of competition between relatives.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1065507

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

05/04/2002

Volume

296

Pages

72 - 75

Keywords

Altruism, Animals, Biological Evolution, Breeding, Competitive Behavior, Cooperative Behavior, Female, Male, Mathematics, Models, Psychological, Population Dynamics, Psychology, Social, Reproduction