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The haplodiploidy threshold and social evolution

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (1990) The haplodiploidy threshold and social evolution. In: Current Science, 59 (7). pp. 374-376.


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Workers in eusocial insect species help in rearing their siblings and other genetic relatlves instead of producing their own offspring. The multiple origins of such eusociality in the Hymenoptera have been ascribed to aplodiploidy because this genetic system makes a female more closely related to her full sisters than she would be to her offspring. To test this so called haplodiploidy hypothesis, I first assume that workers are capable of investing in their sisters and brothers in the ratio that is optimal for them. I then define a haplodiploidy threshold as that value of genetic relatedness between workers and their sisters such that they have a weighted average relatedness to the brood they rear of 0.5 and thus have the same fitness as solitary nesting females. Using 177 published estimates of relatedness between sisters and in social hymenopteran, colonies, I show that in 29 out of 35 species studied, there is not even one estimate of relatedness that is significantly higher than the haplodiploidy threshold. I conclude therefore that the multiple origins of eusociality in the Hymenoptera cannot be ascribed solely to the genetic asymmetry created by haplodiploidy.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright of this artcile belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Theoretical Studies (Ceased to exist at the end of 2003)
Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:33
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/9153

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