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The Genetical Evolution of Social Behavior

The Genetical Evolution of Social Behavior is a 1964 scientific paper by the British evolutionary biologist W.D. Hamilton in which he lays out a kin selection. It appeared in the Journal of Theoretical Biology in two parts volume 1, pages 295–311.

Additional recommended knowledge

Hamilton, then only a PhD student, completed his work in London. It was based on Haldane's idea, but Hamilton showed that applied to all gene frequencies. Although initially obscure, it is now obligatorially cited in biology books.

The paper's peer review process led to disharmony between one of the reviewers, John Maynard Smith and Hamilton. Hamilton thought that Maynard Smith had deliberately kept the paper from publication so that Maynard Smith could claim credit for the concept of kin selection.

The American George R. Price found Hamilton's paper, and finding trouble in its implications for sociobiology, tried to disprove it but ended up rederiving his work through the Price equation.


  • Hamilton, W.D. (1964). The genetical evolution of social behaviour I and II. — Journal of Theoretical Biology 7: 1-16 and 17-52. pubmed I pubmed II
  • W.D. Hamilton Narrow Roads of Gene Land: The Collected Papers of W. D. Hamilton: Evolution of Social Behaviour, Vol. 1 ISBN 0-7167-4530-5. Narrow Roads of Gene Land: Evolution of Sex, Vol 2 of Narrow Roads of Gene Land ISBN 0-19-850336-9
  • George C. Williams (ed) Group Selection ISBN 0-202-04009-7
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Genetical_Evolution_of_Social_Behavior". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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