Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Greenbeard Effect (or Alleles)

Argument by W. D. Hamilton that individuals are able to recognize kin because of the presence of alleles that serve for recognition among closely related animals. These alleles express themselves in the phenotype and enable possessors to recognize others who also bear these alleles; this elicits altruistic behavior towards recognized kin members. This term was coined by Richard Dawkins. Many workers consider this phenomenon to be unlikely, but see the Haig hypothesis.

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