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Kin selection and eusociality

Nature volume 471, pages E5E6 (24 March 2011) | Download Citation



Arising from M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita & E. O. Wilson Nature 466, 1057–1062 (2010)10.1038/nature09205; Nowak et al. reply

Hamilton1 described a selective process in which individuals affect kin (kin selection), developed a novel modelling strategy for it (inclusive fitness), and derived a rule to describe it (Hamilton’s rule). Nowak et al.2 assert that inclusive fitness is not the best modelling strategy, and also that its production has been “meagre”. The former may be debated by theoreticians, but the latter is simply incorrect. There is abundant evidence to demonstrate that inclusive fitness, kin selection and Hamilton’s rule have been extraordinarily productive for understanding the evolution of sociality.

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Author information


  1. *Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA

    • Joan E. Strassmann
  2. †School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA

    • Robert E. Page Jr.
  3. ‡Department of Entomology, and Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA

    • Gene E. Robinson
  4. §Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

    • Thomas D. Seeley


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All authors conceived the project, analysed the material and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

Competing financial interests: declared none.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joan E. Strassmann.

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