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Multilevel and Kin Selection in a Connected World
Nature (2010)
  • Michael J. Wade, Indiana University
  • David S. Wilson, State University of New York at Binghamton
  • Charles Goodnight, University of Vermont
  • Doug Taylor, University of Virginia
  • Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • Marcus A.M. de Aguiar
  • Blake Stacey
  • Justin Werfel
  • Guy A. Hoelzer
  • Edmund D. Brodie, III, University of Virginia
  • Peter Fields, University of Virginia
  • Felix Breden, Simon Fraser University
  • Timothy A. Linksvayer, University of Copenhagen
  • Jeffrey Alan Fletcher, Portland State University
  • Peter J. Richerson
  • James D. Bever, Indiana University
  • J. David Van Dyken, Indiana University
  • Peter Zee, Indiana University

Wild argue that the evolution of reduced virulence can be understood from the perspective of inclusive fitness, obviating the need to evoke group selection as a contributing causal factor. Although they acknowledge the mathematical equivalence of the inclusive fitness and multilevel selection approaches, they conclude that reduced virulence can be viewed entirely as an individual-level adaptation by the parasite1. Here we show that their model is a well-known special case of the more general theory of multilevel selection, and that the cause of reduced virulence resides in the opposition of two processes: within-group and among-group selection. This distinction is important in light of the current controversy among evolutionary biologists in which some continue to affirm that natural selection centers only and always at the level of the individual organism or gene, despite mathematical demonstrations that evolutionary dynamics must be described by selection at various levels in the hierarchy of biological organization.

Publication Date
February, 2010
Citation Information
Michael J. Wade, David S. Wilson, Charles Goodnight, Doug Taylor, et al.. "Multilevel and Kin Selection in a Connected World" Nature Vol. 463 Iss. 7283 (2010)
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