Quantitative genetic versions of Hamilton's rule with empirical applications

J.W. McGlothlin, J.B. Wolf, E.D. Brodie III, A.J. Moore

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Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness revolutionized our understanding of the evolution of social interactions. Surprisingly, an incorporation of Hamilton's perspective into the quantitative genetic theory of phenotypic evolution has been slow, despite the popularity of quantitative genetics in evolutionary studies. Here, we discuss several versions of Hamilton's rule for social evolution from a quantitative genetic perspective, emphasizing its utility in empirical applications. Although evolutionary quantitative genetics offers methods to measure each of the critical parameters of Hamilton's rule, empirical work has lagged behind theory. In particular, we lack studies of selection on altruistic traits in the wild. Fitness costs and benefits of altruism can be estimated using a simple extension of phenotypic selection analysis that incorporates the traits of social interactants. We also discuss the importance of considering the genetic influence of the social environment, or indirect genetic effects (IGEs), in the context of Hamilton's rule. Research in social evolution has generated an extensive body of empirical work focusing-with good reason-almost solely on relatedness. We argue that quantifying the roles of social and non-social components of selection and IGEs, in addition to relatedness, is now timely and should provide unique additional insights into social evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20130358
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1642
Early online date31 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


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