Population and Environment

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 141–147

Kinship and Population Subdivision


DOI: 10.1023/A:1020815420693

Cite this article as:
Harpending, H. Population and Environment (2002) 24: 141. doi:10.1023/A:1020815420693


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 

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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