Time and relatedness in microbes and humans
- Event time: 11:00pm
- Event date: 18th February 2016
- Speaker: Dr Jonathan Birch (London School of Economics)
- Location: Room 2511, James Clerk Maxwell Building (JCMB) James Clerk Maxwell Building Peter Guthrie Tait Road Edinburgh EH9 3FD GB
Empirical studies suggest that horizontal gene transfer may play a key role in sustaining cooperation among bacteria. What does this mean for the conceptual foundations of social evolution theory? I argue that it compels us to rethink certain aspects of the received wisdom about the evolution of altruism, and to revise the very concept of "genetic relatedness" in order to accommodate changes over time in the genetic makeup of individuals. It may even shed new light on some of the puzzles of human social evolution. This is because horizontal transmission, albeit of a very different kind, may have been crucial to the stability of altruism in early human populations.
This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..