How to Evolve Cooperation



Cooperation is needed for evolution to construct new levels of organization. The emergence of genomes, cells, multi-cellular organisms, social insects, and human society are all based on cooperation. Cooperation means that selfish replicators forgo some of their reproductive potential to help one another. But natural selection implies competition between individuals and therefore opposes cooperation unless a specific mechanism is at work. Five mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation are discussed: kin selection, direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocity, network reciprocity, and group selection. I will argue that cooperation is essential for evolvability.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program for Evolutionary Dynamics Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Department of MathematicsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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