Kin selection and the evolution of monogamy

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Science  17 Jun 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4859, pp. 1672-1674
DOI: 10.1126/science.3381088


A two-locus genetic model is studied in which one locus controls the tendency of individuals to act altruistically toward siblings and the other locus controls the mating habits of females. It is demonstrated that genetic variation at the altruism locus is often sufficient to induce an increase in the frequency of genes that cause females to produce all of their offspring with a single mate. This occurs because of nonrandom associations that develop between genes that cause altruism and those that affect female mating behavior. The results provide a new explanation for the evolution of monogamy, and they suggest a previously unexplored mechanism for the evolution of a variety of other behavioral traits as well.