[New Paper] More on the genetical theory of multilevel selection

Gardner A (in press) More on the genetical theory of multilevel selection. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12684

In my article The genetical theory of multilevel selection, I provided a synthesis of the theory of multilevel selection (MLS) and the theory of natural selection in class-structured populations. I framed this synthesis within Fisher’s genetical paradigm, taking a strictly genetical approach to traits and fitness. I showed that this resolves a number of long-standing conceptual problems that have plagued the MLS literature, including the issues of ‘aggregate’ vs. ‘emergent’ group traits, ‘collective fitness1’ vs. ‘collective fitness2’ and ‘MLS1’ vs. ‘MLS2 ‘. In his commentary, Goodnight suggests this theoretical and conceptual synthesis is flawed in several respects. Here, I show this is incorrect, by: reiterating the theoretical and conceptual goals of my synthesis; clarifying that my genetical approach to traits is necessary for a proper analysis of the action of MLS independently of non-Darwinian factors; emphasizing that the Price–Hamilton approach to MLS provides a consistent, useful and conceptually superior theoretical framework; and explaining the role of reproductive value in the study of natural selection in class-structured populations. I also show that Goodnight’s contextual analysis treatment of MLS in a class-structured population is mathematically, biologically and conceptually inadequate.