Paternal genome elimination promotes altruism in viscous populations

Thomas Hitchcock*, Andy Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Population viscosity has long been thought to promote the evolution of altruism. However, in the simplest scenarios, the potential for altruism is invariant with respect to dispersal—a surprising result that holds for haploidy, diploidy, and haplodiploidy (arrhenotoky). Here, we develop a kin-selection model to investigate how population viscosity affects the potential for altruism in species with male paternal genome elimination (PGE), exploring altruism enacted by both females and males, and both juveniles and adults. We find that (1) PGE promotes altruistic behaviors relative to the other inheritance systems, and to a degree that depends on the extent of paternal genome expression. (2) Under PGE, dispersal increases the potential for altruism in juveniles and decreases it in adults. (3) The genetics of PGE can lead to striking differences in sex-specific potentials for altruism, even in the absence of any sex differences in ecology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2191-2198
Number of pages8
Issue number9
Early online date7 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Paternal genome elimination
  • Haplodiploidy
  • Dispersal
  • Inbreeding
  • Social behaviour
  • Intragenomic conflict


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