Social evolution

socialThe theory of interacting phenotypes examines how social interactions affect the evolutionary process. In collaboration with Butch Brodie, Allen Moore, and Jason Wolf, we have been working on several extensions of this theory, including the development of statistical methods to measure model parameters.

Our work has led to generalized equations for predicting the evolution of social traits and an expansion of Hamilton’s rule for the evolution of altruism that incorporates both IGEs and social selection.

We are currently pursuing several lines of theoretical work, including modeling phenotypic interactions between species, elucidating the relationships between indirect genetic effects and game theory, and asking how social interactions affect quantitative genetic integration.


McGlothlin, J.W. 2016. Social effects. In Kliman, R., ed., Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology. Academic Press.

McGlothlin, J. W., J. B. Wolf, E. D. Brodie III, and A. J. Moore. 2014. Quantitative genetic versions of Hamilton’s rule with empirical applications. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369: 20130358. (Open Access)

Formica, V. A., J. W. McGlothlin, C. W. Wood, M. E. Augat, R. E. Butterfield, M. E. Barnard, and E. D. Brodie III. 2011. Phenotypic social selection in a wild population of forked fungus beetles. Evolution 65: 2771-2781.

McGlothlin, J. W., A. J. Moore, J. B. Wolf, and E. D. Brodie III. 2010. Interacting phenotypes and the evolutionary process. III. Social evolution. Evolution 64: 2558-2574.

McGlothlin, J. W. and E. D. Brodie III. 2009. How to measure indirect genetic effects: the congruence of trait-based and variance-partitioning approaches. Evolution 63: 1785-1795 (with Erratum).