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Journal Articles F1000Research Year : 2016

Kin and multilevel selection in social evolution: a never-ending controversy?


F1000 Faculty Reviews are written by members of the prestigious. They are F1000 Faculty commissioned and are peer reviewed before publication to ensure that the final, published version is comprehensive and accessible. The reviewers who approved the final version are listed with their names and affiliations. Abstract Kin selection and multilevel selection are two major frameworks in evolutionary biology that aim at explaining the evolution of social behaviors. However, the relationship between these two theories has been plagued by controversy for almost half a century and debates about their relevance and usefulness in explaining social evolution seem to rekindle at regular intervals. Here, we first provide a concise introduction into the kin selection and multilevel selection theories and shed light onto the roots of the controversy surrounding them. We then review two major aspects of the current debate: the presumed formal equivalency of the two theories and the question whether group selection can lead to group adaptation. We conclude by arguing that the two theories can offer complementary approaches to the study of social evolution: kin selection approaches usually focus on the identification of optimal phenotypes and thus on the endresult of a selection process, whereas multilevel selection approaches focus on the ongoing selection process itself. The two theories thus provide different perspectives that might be fruitfully combined to promote our understanding of the evolution in group-structured populations.
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hal-02117962 , version 1 (11-06-2020)



Jos Kramer, Joël Meunier. Kin and multilevel selection in social evolution: a never-ending controversy?. F1000Research, 2016, 5, pp.776. ⟨10.12688/f1000research.8018.1⟩. ⟨hal-02117962⟩
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