• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of pnasPNASInfo for AuthorsSubscriptionsAboutThis Article
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jan 1975; 72(1): 143–146.
PMCID: PMC432258

A theory of group selection.


In organisms possessing a dispersal phase the processes of mating, competition, feeding, and predation are often carried out within "trait-groups," defined as populations enclosed in areas smaller than the boundaries of the deme. A simple model shows that this can lead to the selection of "altruistic" traits that favor the fitness of the group over that of the individual. The extent of group selection that occurs depends mainly on the variation in the composition of genotypes between trait-groups. The traditional concepts of group and individual selection are seen as two extremes of a continuum, with systems in nature operating over the interval in between.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (604K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Boorman SA, Levitt PR. Group selection on the boundary of a stable population. Theor Popul Biol. 1973 Mar;4(1):85–128. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America are provided here courtesy of National Academy of Sciences


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

  • A theory of group selection.
    A theory of group selection.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jan 1975; 72(1)143

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...