Computer experiments, testing features proposed to explain the evolution of sexual recombination, show that this evolution is better described as a network of interactions between possible sexual forms, including diploidy, thelytoky, facultative sex, assortation, bisexuality, and division of labor, rather than a simple transition from parthenogenesis to sexual recombination. Results show that sex is an adaptation to manage genetic complexity in evolution; that bisexual reproduction emerges only among anisogamic diploids with a synergistic division of reproductive labor; and that facultative sex is more likely to evolve among haploids practicing assortative mating. Looking at the evolution of sex as a complex system explains better the diversity of sexual strategies known to exist in nature. The paper shows that Analytical mathematics used in theoretical biology has limitations in tackling complex problems. Switching to algorithmic mathematics, such as ABM, will be important in advancing our understanding of complex issues. More sophisticated models will enlighten more aspects of this complex dynamics with implications for the understanding biological and cultural evolution, intelligence, and complex systems in general.
Synergy from reproductive division of labor and complexity drive the evolution of sex