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Solving the freeloaders paradox: Genetic associations and frequency-dependent selection in the evolution
 

Summary: Solving the freeloaders paradox: Genetic associations
and frequency-dependent selection in the evolution
of cooperation among nonrelatives
Leticia Avile┤s
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
Edited by Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved August 26, 2002 (received for review July 8, 2002)
One of the enduring problems in the study of social evolution has
been to understand how cooperation can be maintained in
the presence of freeloaders, individuals that take advantage of the
more cooperative members of groups they are eager to join. The
freeloader problem has been particularly troublesome when
groups consist of nonrelatives, and no inclusive fitness benefits
accrue to individuals that contribute more heavily to communal
activities. These theoretical difficulties, however, are not mirrored
by the numerous examples of cooperative or even altruistic be-
haviors exhibited by groups of nonrelatives in nature (e.g., many
human groups, communally nesting bees, multiple queen-found-
ing ants, cellular slime molds, and social bacteria). Using a model
in which cooperation and grouping tendencies are modeled as
coevolving dynamical variables, I show that the freeloader prob-

  

Source: AvilÚs, Leticia - Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology