Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Genetic Relatedness

  • Pierrick BourratEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1358-1



The probability that an allele in one individual is also found in another individual.


Relatedness is an important parameter in kin selection or more generally inclusive fitness theory. One significant puzzle in the history of evolutionary theorizing is the evolution of altruism. Kin selection, with the use of the relatedness parameter, often denoted by r, permits to solve this puzzle.

The Puzzle of Altruism

A classical approach to natural selection tells us that only traits which confer a heritable fitness (reproductive) advantage to their bearer will evolve by natural selection. For instance, suppose a population of organisms which vary in height and in which the taller an organism is the higher its reproductive output. We could imagine that the organisms are giraffes and that giraffes which are taller have access to leaves on...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Sydney, department of Philosophy & Charles Perkins CentreCamperdownAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Douglas Sellers
    • 1
  1. 1.Penn State Worthington ScrantonScrantonUSA