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Trends Ecol Evol. 1996 Feb;11(2):41-6.

Ancient asexual scandals.

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Dept of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, UK OX1 3PS.


Asexual organisms that are descended from ancient asexual lineages defy current thinking on the evolution of sexual reproduction; theoreticians have been anxious to explain away their existence. However, a number of groups of organisms, from ferns to rotifers, have been suggested to be anciently asexual, and favourable evidence is being accumulated. Furthermore, new techniques for assessing claims of ancient asexuality have been proposed. Although ancient asexuals challenge current theories of sex, understanding how they manage to persist will help to explain why most organisms are sexual.


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