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PLoS Biol. 2012;10(5):e1001321. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001321. Epub 2012 May 1.

Disentangling the benefits of sex.

Author information

1
CNRS, UMR 7144, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Roscoff, France. roze@sb-roscoff.fr

Abstract

Understanding the evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction remains one of the most fundamental questions in evolutionary biology. Most of the current hypotheses rely on the fact that sex increases genetic variation, thereby enhancing the efficiency of natural selection; an important body of theoretical work has defined the conditions under which sex can be favoured through this effect. Over the last decade, experimental evolution in model organisms has provided evidence that sex indeed allows faster rates of adaptation. A new study on facultatively sexual rotifers shows that increased rates of sex can be favoured during adaptation to new environmental conditions and explores the cause of this effect. The results provide support for the idea that the benefits of increasing genetic variation may compensate for the short-term costs of sexual reproduction.

PMID:
22563302
PMCID:
PMC3341332
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.1001321
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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