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Nowak et al. reply

Nature volume 471, pages E9E10 (24 March 2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

Replying to: P. Abbot et al. Nature 471, 10.1038/nature09831 (2011); J. J. Boomsma et al. Nature 471, 10.1038/nature09832 (2011); J. E. Strassmann et al. Nature 471, 10.1038/nature09833 (2011); R. Ferriere & R. E. Michod Nature 471, 10.1038/nature09834 (2011); E. A. Herre & W. T. Wcislo Nature 471, 10.1038/nature09835 (2011)

Our paper challenges the dominant role of inclusive fitness theory in the study of social evolution1. We show that inclusive fitness theory is not a constructive theory that allows a useful mathematical analysis of evolutionary processes. For studying the evolution of cooperation or eusociality we must instead rely on evolutionary game theory or population genetics. The authors of the five comments2,3,4,5,6 offer the usual defence of inclusive fitness theory, but do not take into account our new results.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. *Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Department of Mathematics, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Martin A. Nowak
    •  & Corina E. Tarnita
  2. †Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Edward O. Wilson

Authors

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Contributions

M.A.N., C.E.T. and E.O.W. collaborated on all aspects of this reply.

Competing interests

Competing financial interests: declared none.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Martin A. Nowak.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09836

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