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Curr Biol. 2007 Aug 21;17(16):R673-83.

Kin selection versus sexual selection: why the ends do not meet.

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  • 1Institute of Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


I redevelop the hypothesis that lifetime monogamy is a fundamental condition for the evolution of eusocial lineages with permanent non-reproductive castes, and that later elaborations--such as multiply-mated queens and multi-queen colonies--arose without the re-mating promiscuity that characterizes non-social and cooperative breeding. Sexually selected traits in eusocial lineages are therefore peculiar, and their evolution constrained. Indirect (inclusive) fitness benefits in cooperatively breeding vertebrates appear to be negatively correlated with promiscuity, corroborating that kin selection and sexual selection tend to generally exclude each other. The monogamy window required for transitions from solitary and cooperative breeding towards eusociality implies that the relatedness and benefit-cost variables of Hamilton's rule do not vary at random, but occur in distinct and only partly overlapping combinations in cooperative, eusocial, and derived eusocial breeding systems.

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