More on the genetical theory of multilevel selection

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In my article The genetical theory of multilevel selection, I provided a synthesis of the theory of multilevel selection (MLS) and the theory of natural selection in class-structured populations. I framed this synthesis within Fisher’s genetical paradigm, taking a strictly genetical approach to traits and fitness. I showed that this resolves a number of longstanding conceptual problems that have plagued the MLS literature, including the issues of “aggregate” versus “emergent” group traits, “collective-fitness1” versus “collective-fitness2” and “MLS1” versus “MLS2”. In his commentary, Goodnight suggests this theoretical and conceptual synthesis is flawed in several respects. Here, I show this is incorrect, by: reiterating the theoretical and conceptual goals of my synthesis; clarifying that my genetical approach to traits is necessary for a proper analysis of the action of MLS independently of non-Darwinian factors; emphasising that the Price-Hamilton approach to MLS is consistent, useful and conceptually superior; and explaining the role of reproductive value in the study of natural selection in class-structured populations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
VolumeEarly view
Early online date12 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Breeding value
  • Cancer
  • Class structure
  • Contextual analysis
  • Group adaptation
  • Group selection
  • Haplodiploidy
  • Price equation
  • Reproductive value


Dive into the research topics of 'More on the genetical theory of multilevel selection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this