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Red ants with green beards

Gadagkar, R (1998) Red ants with green beards. In: Journal of Biosciences, 23 (5). pp. 535-536.

Gadagkar 1998-J Biosci.pdf - Published Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02709160


In colonies of social insects such as ants, bees a_nd wasps, only one or a small number of individuals function as fertile reproductive queens. The remaining female members of the colonies function as sterile workers who spend all or most of their lives assis.ting the queens to reproduce. Such altruistic behaviour on the part of the workers appears paradoxical from the point of view of the theory of natural selection because we expect genes responsible for altruistic behaviour to be rapidly eliminated. Hamilton (1964a,b) showed however that natural selection can favour the spread of altruistic alleles if altruism is directed preferentially towards close genetic relatives of the altruists. But how do animals recognize their relatives so that they can so direct their altruism? Although the publication of Hamilton's paper led to an explosion of studies on altruism, especially in the social insects, little attention was paid to the explicit question of recognition. Everyone assumed that relatives are recognized by the context in which they are encountered-ants that happen to be in the same nest must be close relatives.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Biosciences
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: copyright to this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Natural selection, Altruism, Green beard genes, Red ants, Social Insect, Altruistic Behaviour, Selfish Gene, Polygynous Coloni, Close Genetic Relative
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2021 10:27
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 10:27
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/68157

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