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Keywords:

  • Caste determination;
  • caste fate policing;
  • genetic covariance;
  • inclusive fitness;
  • polyandry;
  • social insects

Policing against selfishness is now regarded as the main force maintaining cooperation, by reducing costly conflict in complex social systems. Although policing has been studied extensively in social insect colonies, its coevolution against selfishness has not been fully captured by previous theories. In this study, I developed a two-trait quantitative genetic model of the conflict between selfish immature females (usually larvae) and policing workers in eusocial Hymenoptera over the immatures’ propensity to develop into new queens. This model allows for the analysis of coevolution between genomes expressed in immatures and workers that collectively determine the immatures’ queen caste fate. The main prediction of the model is that a higher level of polyandry leads to a smaller fraction of queens produced among new females through caste fate policing. The other main prediction of the present model is that, as a result of arms race, caste fate policing by workers coevolves with exaggerated selfishness of the immatures achieving maximum potential to develop into queens. Moreover, the model can incorporate genetic correlation between traits, which has been largely unexplored in social evolution theory. This study highlights the importance of understanding social traits as influenced by the coevolution of conflicting genomes.