Plant Individuality and Multilevel Selection Theory

In Kim Sterelny & Brett Calcott (eds.), The Major Transitions Revisited. MIT Press. pp. 227--250 (2011)
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Abstract

This chapter develops the idea that the germ-soma split and the suppression of individual fitness differences within the corporate entity are not always essential steps in the evolution of corporate individuals. It illustrates some consequences for multilevel selection theory. It presents evidence that genetic heterogeneity may not always be a barrier to successful functioning as a higher-level individual. This chapter shows that levels-of-selection theorists are wrong to assume that the central problem in transitions is always that of minimizing within-group competition. Evidence of intralevel conflict does not qualify as evidence against the existence of a higher level of selection.

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Ellen Clarke
University of Leeds

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