Altruism/ Kin Selection

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  • Topic: Kin selection, Ant, Honey bee
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  • Published : May 3, 2011
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Altruism/kin selection
“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today (James Dean)!” By this being said ants and bees are there to protect and provide for the queen at any means necessary. This is where altruism and kin selection play a huge role in the lives of bee’s and ants.

Kin selection and Altruism is equal with social insects to dominate many terrestrial habitats that they can hardly describe it as colony of organisms because the individuals appear to operate as a unit that is dedicated to the perpetuation and reproduction of the colony as a whole. Altruism and Kin selection vary in many ways. There are small colonies with only a few individuals and then there are some with thousands or even millions of individuals. Colonies may begin by single individual or by a large cohort of a parent colony. In some bee’s and ant colonies they are short lived or seasonal, but they may persist for many years. Bees and ants colonies consist of both sexes; however, others are entirely females. Since the Hymenoptera (ants and bees) are haplodiploid, the diploid female produces from fertilized eggs and haploid males from unfertilized eggs (David C. Queller and Joan E. Strassmann). They have a society that is similar to one another when it comes to reproductive division of labor. The insects have only one or a few reproductive, called queens. The individual are workers that specialize in foraging, defending, and carrying for the young. However, they may or may not be morphologically distinct from the reproducing caste (Queller and Strassmann).

Kin selection and altruism is widely important according to William D. Hamilton, he generalized it, quantified it, and was the first to argue that it was important. They formalize the obvious point that helping relatives is advantageous, whereas harming them is not. Basically it explains how to look over situations in which there are tradeoffs between help and harm, for instance like with the bees and ants, they show helping manners rather than harming. Ants and bees know when to aid one relative at the expense of another. Instead of having the mentality of being on there own all the time, having to look over their shoulder 24/7. They have always made an interesting challenge to our evolving notion and social insects are highly altruistic. Altruism is sensational, when a worker bee commits suicide in stinging an adversary (Turner J. Scott). The hordes of sterile workers that help others come from their parents or occasionally siblings that reproduce in their stead. Darwin thinks that treating altruism as a subterfuge will advance the genetic of the insects to interest of altruist. Interplay between kin selection theory and Altruism has been very complex. Now with bees and ants, altruistic behavior is favored by genetic peculiarity called haplodiploidy. Which means; the parental genes are transmitted differently into male and female offspring. Haplodiploidy skews the genetic relationships between parents and siblings in a way that favors altruism (Scott). Bees that work can most effectively transmit her genes to the future generations not by producing her own offspring though. However, it forces her mother to produce sisters for her. Bee colonies are single fertile queens as well as ants and the hordes of the sterile, we cannot forget about the female workers either. The production of a few fertile females and drones follow from the genetic peculiarity (Manojkumar, Ramteke, and Gupta Santosh K.).

Kin selection operates in the organisms other than altruism, has an important goal to include all of the organisms in a common explanatory framework. It has the theory that predicts that colony mates must be related and that sterility must be conditionally expressed. In some insects, for instance, the ant in particular, colonies are founded by numerous unrelated queens. Since they collaborate often in the face of brood stealing by other colonies and in rearing a...
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