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Keywords:

  • behaviour genetics;
  • coalitions;
  • kin selection;
  • mate choice;
  • nepotism;
  • neurobiology

For Homo sapiens, inclusive fitness theory goes well beyond ‘kin’. As William Hamilton hypothesized, genes can increase the probability of their own survival by bringing about the reproduction of not only family members with whom they share copies, but also of any individuals with whom they share copies. Research with Hamilton's theory on people is less well known and remains controversial. This review shows: (1) spouses and close friends assort on blood groups and that similarity predicts fertility; (2) twin and adoption studies find genes rather than upbringing cause people to positively assort; (3) phenotype matching is more pronounced on more heritable items within sets of homogeneous traits; (4) bereavement studies find grief is greater following the death of a more similar co-twin or child; (5) studies of face perception find people prefer and trust those who look like them; and (6) DNA variance within and between ethnic groups is equivalent to that within and between families. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 96, 8–12.