Maternal care and female-biased sex ratios are considered by many to be essential prerequisites for the evolution of eusocial behaviors among the hymenoptera. Using population genetic models, I investigate the evolution of genes that have positive maternal effects but negative, direct effects on offspring fitness. I find that, under many conditions, such genes evolve more easily in haplo-diploids than in diplo-diploids. In fact, the conditions are less restrictive than those of kin selection theory, which postulate genes with negative direct effects but positive sib-social effects. For example, the conditions permitting the evolution of maternal effect genes are not affected if females mate multiply, whereas multiple mating reduces the efficacy of kin selection by reducing genetic relatedness within colonies. Inbreeding also differentially facilitates evolution of maternal effect genes in haplo-diploids relative to diplo-diploids, although it does not differentially affect the evolution of sib-altruism genes. Furthermore, when the direct, deleterious pleiotropic effect is restricted to sons, a maternal effect gene can evolve when the beneficial maternal effect is less than half (with inbreeding, much less) of the deleterious effect on sons. For kin selection, however, the sib-social benefits must always exceed the direct costs because genetic relatedness is always less than or equal to 1.0. The results suggest that haplo-diploidy facilitates (1) the evolution of maternal care, and (2) the evolution of maternal effect genes with antagonistic pleiotropic effects on sons. The latter effect may help explain the tendency toward female-biased sex ratios in haplo-diploids, especially those with inbreeding. I conclude that haplo-diploidy not only facilitates the evolution of sister-sister altruism by kin selection but also facilitates the evolution of maternal care and female-biased sex ratios, two prerequisites for eusociality.
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Vol. 55 • No. 3