Genetical aspects of kin selection: Effects of inbreeding

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Hamilton's c/b < "r" rule is an important tool in sociobiological research and clearly functions as a "positive heuristic", sensu Lakatos (1970). This paper examines the theoretical underpinnings of this rule in population genetics when inbreeding is taken into account. The model used is an extension of Charnov (1977) and assumes that the altruistic gene codes for a behavior between inbred individuals of a fixed genetic relationship. No consideration is given to the population or mating system processes which give rise to this relationship. It is shown that in inbred populations with weak selection the right-hand side of Hamilton's rule depends upon gene frequency and dominance as well as the degree of genetic relationship between the individuals involved. Because of this dependence, stable polymorphisms in altruistic and non-altruistic alleles are possible for certain ranges of c/b ratios. Another consequence is that the more dominant the altruistic gene, the easier it is for it to invade a population, but the harder it is for it to increase to high frequencies. In the special case when the individuals involved are inbred to the same extent and gene effects are additive, the RHS of the rule is independent of gene frequency and equals bYX and rYX: respectively Hamilton's regression coefficient of relatedness and Wright's correlation coefficient of relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-233
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 21 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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