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In defence of inclusive fitness theory


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

Arguably the defining characteristic of the scientific process is its capacity for self-criticism and correction1. Nowak et al.2 challenge proposed connections between relatedness and the evolution of eusociality3, suggest instead that defensible nests and “spring-loaded” traits are key, and present alternative modelling approaches. They then dismiss the utility of Hamilton’s insight that relatedness has a profound evolutionary effect3, formalized in his widely accepted inclusive fitness theory as Hamilton’s rule (“Rise and fall of inclusive fitness theory”). However, we believe that Nowak et al.2 fail to make their case for logical, theoretical and empirical reasons.

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Both authors contributed extensively to all aspects of this work.

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Correspondence to Edward Allen Herre.

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Herre, E., Wcislo, W. In defence of inclusive fitness theory. Nature 471, E8–E9 (2011).

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