Saturday, September 09, 2006

 

Sex is Good for Evolution, Researcher Says

University of British Columbia evolution biologist Sarah Otto has proof that sex is good for you - and the human species as a whole. Previous evolutionary theories - typically based on the assumption of an infinite population - have failed to find a clear role for sexual reproduction in evolution.

In a research paper published in today's edition of the journal Nature, Otto and co-author Peter Keightley from the University of Edinburgh's Institute of Evolutionary Biology explain that in real populations - which are never infinitely large - reproduction through sex breaks apart harmful mutations and creates new gene combinations, giving species better adaptability.

"If populations were infinitely large, all combinations of genes would already exist and sex would not be much use," says Otto, a zoology professor at UBC.
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Based on "Interference among deleterious mutations favours sex and recombination in finite populations" (Abstract)

There is also an Editor's Summary: "The question of sex"

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