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The Evolution Of Cooperation

Joel L. Sachs, U. Mueller, T. Wilcox, J. Bull
Published 2004 · Biology, Medicine

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Darwin recognized that natural selection could not favor a trait in one species solely for the benefit of another species. The modern, selfish‐gene view of the world suggests that cooperation between individuals, whether of the same species or different species, should be especially vulnerable to the evolution of noncooperators. Yet, cooperation is prevalent in nature both within and between species. What special circumstances or mechanisms thus favor cooperation? Currently, evolutionary biology offers a set of disparate explanations, and a general framework for this breadth of models has not emerged. Here, we offer a tripartite structure that links previously disconnected views of cooperation. We distinguish three general models by which cooperation can evolve and be maintained: (i) directed reciprocation—cooperation with individuals who give in return; (ii) shared genes—cooperation with relatives (e.g., kin selection); and (iii) byproduct benefits—cooperation as an incidental consequence of selfish action. Each general model is further subdivided. Several renowned examples of cooperation that have lacked explanation until recently—plant‐rhizobium symbioses and bacteria‐squid light organs—fit squarely within this framework. Natural systems of cooperation often involve more than one model, and a fruitful direction for future research is to understand how these models interact to maintain cooperation in the long term.
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10.1007/s00442-020-04796-5
Nest substrate, more than ant activity, drives fungal pathogen community dissimilarity in seed-dispersing ant nests.
Chloe L Lash (2020)
10.1098/rspb.2019.2754
Host–microbiome coevolution can promote cooperation in a rock–paper–scissors dynamics
O. Lewin-Epstein (2020)
10.1002/ece3.6120
To clean or not to clean: Cleaning mutualism breakdown in a tidal environment
Katie Dunkley (2020)
10.1098/rspb.2020.0819
Reciprocity creates a stake in one's partner, or why you should cooperate even when anonymous
Pat Barclay (2020)
10.1242/jeb.231613
The impact of long-term reduced access to cleaner fish on health indicators of resident client fish
A. Ros (2020)
10.1007/s12144-020-00667-7
Sense of community responsibility and altruistic behavior in Chinese community residents: The mediating role of community identity
C. Yang (2020)
10.1101/2020.02.25.965665
Antagonistic interactions subdue inter-species green-beard cooperation in bacteria
S. Sathe (2020)
10.1016/j.cub.2020.07.002
Microbial Mutualism: Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me?
Alexandre R. T. Figueiredo (2020)
10.1101/2020.01.20.912519
Unrelated males in colonies of facultatively social bee
M. Mikát (2020)
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