Reproductive value and the evolution of altruism

Antonio Rodrigues, Andy Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Altruism is favored by natural selection provided that it delivers sufficient benefits to relatives. An altruist’s valuation of her relatives depends upon the extent to which they carry copies of her genes – relatedness – and also on the extent to which they are able to transmit their own genes to future generations – reproductive value. However, although relatedness has received a great deal of attention with regard to altruism, reproductive value has been surprisingly neglected. We review how reproductive value modulates patterns of altruism in relation to individual differences in age, sex, and general condition, and discuss how social partners may manipulate each other’s reproductive value to incentivize altruism. This topic presents opportunities for tight interplay between theoretical and empirical research.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
VolumeIn Press
Early online date21 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2021


  • Age structure
  • Class structure
  • Division of labour
  • Inclusive fitness
  • Manipulation
  • Sex ratio


Dive into the research topics of 'Reproductive value and the evolution of altruism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this