University of Oulu

Rautiala, P., Helanterä, H. and Puurtinen, M. (2019), Extended haplodiploidy hypothesis. Evolution Letters, 3: 263-270. doi:10.1002/evl3.119

Extended haplodiploidy hypothesis

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Author: Rautiala, Petri1; Helanterä, Heikki2,3,4; Puurtinen, Mikael3,5
Organizations: 1School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9TH, United Kingdom
2Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65 FI-00014, Finland
3Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions
4Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, POB 3000 FI-90014, Finland
5Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyvaskyla, PO Box 35 FI-40014, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-10-07


Evolution of altruistic behavior was a hurdle for the logic of Darwinian evolution. Soon after Hamilton formalized the concept of inclusive fitness, which explains how altruism can evolve, he suggested that the high sororal relatedness brought by haplodiploidy could be why Hymenopterans have a high prevalence in eusocial species, and why helpers in Hymenoptera are always female. Later it was noted that in order to capitalize on the high sororal relatedness, helpers would need to direct help toward sisters, and this would bias the population sex ratio. Under a 1:3 males:females sex ratio, the inclusive fitness valuation a female places on her sister, brother, and an own offspring are equal—apparently removing the benefit of helping over independent reproduction. Based on this argumentation, haplodiploidy hypothesis has been considered a red herring. However, here we show that when population sex ratio, cost of altruism, and population growth rate are considered together, haplodiploidy does promote female helping even with female‐biased sex ratio, due the lowered cost of altruism in such populations. Our analysis highlights the need to re‐evaluate the role of haplodiploidy in the evolution of helping, and the importance of fully exploring the model assumptions when comparing interactions of population sex ratios and social behaviors.

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Series: Evolution letters
ISSN: 2056-3744
ISSN-E: 2056-3744
ISSN-L: 2056-3744
Volume: 3
Issue: 3
Pages: 263 - 270
DOI: 10.1002/evl3.119
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: P.R., M.P., and H.H. were supported by Academy of Finland (grant 258385 to M.P., grant 135970 to H.H., and 252411 to the Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions), P.R. also by the Royal Society Newton International Fellowship, and H.H. also by the Kone Foundation.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 258385
Detailed Information: 258385 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 The Author(s). Evolution Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) and European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.