Population and Environment

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 141–147 | Cite as

Kinship and Population Subdivision

  • Henry HarpendingEmail author


The coefficient of kinship between two diploid organisms describes their overall genetic similarity to each other relative to some base population. For example, kinship between parent and offspring of 1/4 describes gene sharing in excess of random sharing in a random mating population. In a subdivided population the statistic Fst describes gene sharing within subdivisions in the same way. Since Fst among human populations on a world scale is reliably 10 to 15%, kinship between two individuals of the same human population is equivalent to kinship between grandparent and grandchild or between half siblings. The widespread assertion that this is small and insignificant should be reexamined.

coefficient of kinship coefficient of relationship inclusive fitness 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bulmer, M. (1994). Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer.Google Scholar
  2. Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. (1966). Population structure and human evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B, 164, 362-379.Google Scholar
  3. Hamilton, W. D. (1964). The genetic evolution of social behavior, parts 1 and 2. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7, 1-51.Google Scholar
  4. Harpending, H. (1979). The population genetics of interactions. American Naturalist, 113, 622-630.Google Scholar
  5. Klein, J., & Takahata, N. (2002). Where Do We Come From: The Molecular Evidence For Human Descent. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Lewontin, R. C. (1972). The apportionment of human diversity. Evolutionary Biology, 6, 381-398.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

Personalised recommendations