The Biological Origins of Altruism: "Kin and Kind" , by Jonah Lehrer
The March 5, 2012 issue of the New Yorker Magazine has an overview of the research behind the biological explanation for altruism.
Key vocabulary words: fitness, inclusive fitness eusocial, haplodicity.
I can't help but contemplate the overlap of the the conclusion with what Christian thinking says about the relationship between an individual and the community, that is between individual rights and the common good--between freedom and responsibility. In American society we tend to stress individual rights solely while never mentioning the responsibilities that come with freedom.
I also contemplate that while the research cited in the article talks of distinct families and groups competing with other distinct families and groups, the humanitarian and the Christian have always recognized the global family of man--that we all belong to the group/community that consists of all human kind.