ALTRUISM – KIN SELECTION Q: If altruism is drived by some gene (for alruism), will two individuals who are totally non-related in every single aspect engage in altruistic behaviour if they happen to share just that one single gene for altruism. For instance, you could imagine that 99% DNA is different but only the altruism gene is common. I'm confused because, if just one gene drives altruism, then kinship should matter as long as the gene is present. A: In theory, yes that would be true. It would be beneficial for the gene to do so. But in reality, the situation is a lot more complicated. First of all, you have to remember that genes can't really 'think' per say. The selection for genes that help themselves spread just happens. So to evolve a gene that is altruistic and can recognize if another organism has that exact same gene can be very difficult. First
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This note was uploaded on 12/05/2011 for the course PSYCH 1XX3 taught by Professor Kim during the Spring '11 term at McMaster University.