Article ID: CBB836456680

The Paradox of Sexual Reproduction and the Levels of Selection: Can Sociobiology Shed a Light? (2012)


The rejection of group selection in the 1960s left the evolutionary maintenance of sex bereft of its previous explanations and turned it into an anomaly or paradox. While the levels of selection debate advanced towards multilevel selection theory as a tentative resolution, the paradox of sex became increasingly decoupled from it. Only differential extinction or speciation of sexual and asexual taxa have been considered in relation to the maintenance of sex. This agrees with multilevel selection scenario 2 (MLS2) in which the groups have their own component of fitness. In multilevel selection scenario 1 (MLS1), however, groups can structure selection without having their own component of fitness. Moreover, MLS1 defines trait-groups via social interactions. Here I suggest that MLS1 can be applied to the maintenance of sexual reproduction against the twofold cost of sex. This neither denies the existence of other costs of sex nor the legitimacy of other hypotheses concerning these costs.

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Authors & Contributors
Milam, Erika Lorraine
Hamilton, William Donald
Grassi, Umberto
Prum, Richard O.
Roberta Visone
Wyndham, Diana
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Laboratorio dell'ISPF
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
Journal of the History of Sexuality
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Intellectual History Review
W.H. Freeman/Spektrum
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Sydney University Press
Presses Universitaires de Rennes
Johns Hopkins University Press
Harvard University Press
Sexual behavior
Sexual selection
Behavioral sciences
Hamilton, William Donald
Darwin, Charles Robert
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Kinsey, Alfred C.
Haire, Norman
Ginzburg, Carlo
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
Early modern
21st century
20th century, late
20th century, early
United States

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