The Selfish Grandma Gene. The Roles of the X-Chromosome and Paternity Uncertainty in the Evolution of Grandmothering Behavior and Longevity

Abstract

When considering inclusive fitness, it is expected that individuals will provide more care towards those with whom they are more closely related. Thus, if a selfish X-linked genetic element influenced care giving, we would expect care giving to vary with X-relatedness. Recent studies have shown that X-chromosome inheritance patterns may influence selection of traits affecting behavior and life-history. Sexually antagonistic (SA) zygotic drive could encourage individuals to help those with whom they are more likely to share genetic material at the expense of other relatives. We reanalyze previously reported data in light of this new idea. We also evaluate the effects of paternity uncertainty on SA-zygotic drive. Our evidence suggests that human paternal discrepancy is relatively low. Using published models, we find the effects of paternal discrepancy do not override opportunity for selection based on X-relatedness. Based on these results, longevity and grandmothering behaviors, including favoritism, may be more heavily influenced by selection on the X-chromosome than by paternity uncertainty.

Publication
In International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Date