Navigation Links
Is blood thicker than water?

In 1964 biologist William Hamilton introduced Inclusive Fitness Theory to predict and explain phenomena ranging from animal behavior to patterns of gene expression. With its many successes, the theory became a cornerstone for modern biology. In August, 2010, Harvard researchers challenged the theory in the prestigious journal, Nature. Now Nature has published sharp rebuttals from scores of scientists, including Edward Allen Herre and William Wcislo, staff scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

"Bees are probably the most useful group for studying why eusocial organisms have workers that do not reproduce, but the authors got a lot of their basic facts about bees wrong. For example, the authors argue that having defensible nests is the most important consideration for eusociality, but they ignore the fact that there are thousands of nest making animals that are not eusocial," said Wcislo, a specialist in the biology of bees. "What really caught my attention was that they completely misrepresented results of one of my own studies. This is very poor scholarship that does not support their case at all."

Says co-author, Edward Allen Herre, "Challenging existing paradigms is an essential part of a healthy scientific process. However, the burden is on the challengers to present a better alternative, particularly when a paradigm has been as successful as Inclusive Fitness has been. Both the factual and theoretical basis of the case for their proposed alternatives falls apart with even mild scrutiny. They simply do not make their case. But their challenge is still useful because crucial parts of the theory come out stronger for having been tested, and researchers can better see where more studies are needed."

The Smithsonian has recently established formal collaborations with Arizona State University to study social insects and the phenomenon of eusociality. Researchers expect that this collaboration will produce studies with a direct bearing on the issues raised in this debate.


Contact: Beth King
703-487-3770, x8216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Related biology news :

1. Scientist plans to test for blood pressure genes affected by age
2. Discovery of natural compounds that could slow blood vessel growth
3. New blood test for Down syndrome
4. On the trail of a targeted therapy for blood cancers
5. Lower your blood pressure, hydrate your skin and reduce dental plaque -- with chocolate?
6. Building the blood-brain barrier
7. Apelin hormone injections powerfully lower blood sugar
8. Battling bacteria in the blood: Researchers tackle deadly infections
9. Femtomolar optical tweezers may enable sensitive blood tests
10. Drops in blood oxygen levels may be key to sudden death in some epilepsy patients
11. Scripps research scientists identify blood component that turns bacteria virulent
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Is blood thicker than water?
(Date:9/30/2015)... 2015  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the ... in favor of Crossmatch ™, affirming the International ... Suprema and its U.S. partner Mentalix violated Section 337 ... that declares it unlawful to engage in "unfair practices" ... Crossmatch,s patents, the 5,900,993 patent and the 7,203,344 patent. ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... News facts: ... energy , Minimized design shrinks PC footprint ... and embedded Fujitsu PalmSecure authentication enable enterprises to realize ... shows that good things come in small packages, with ... enterprise desktop and mobile portfolio. Featuring workplace design that ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... , Sept. 28, 2015 ... today that its expedited traveler service is ... platform transforms travel, bringing a frictionless experience, ... members. "CLEAR offers our travelers ... customer service," said Jim Smith , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2015)... , ... October 09, 2015 , ... ... However, the current methods of separating those cells from their surroundings for research, ... to the cells. , To address this, Ann Arbor-based startup Akadeum Life ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. , Oct. 8, 2015 ... a leader in synthetic biology, today announced the appointment ... President, Head of Environment Sector, succeeding Nir Nimrodi ... Corporate Development.  Mr. Vaillancourt will direct Intrexon,s endeavors to ... North America , where he held ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... 8, 2015  ATCC, the premier global biological materials ... been selected by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for ... academic, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology organizations committed to speed a ... United States , and more than 5 million ... United States , and more than 5 million ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... , October 8, 2015 ...   --> Goldman Small Cap Research, ... small cap and microcap sectors, announced today that ... on PharmaCyte Biotech, Inc. (OTCQB - PMCB), a ... developing and preparing treatments for cancer and diabetes. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: