Synergy from reproductive division of labor and genetic complexity drive the evolution of sex

Computer experiments that mirror the evolutionary dynamics of sexual and asexual organisms as they occur in nature were used to test features proposed to explain the evolution of sexual recombination. Results 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 between the sexes, rather than a simple transition from parthenogenesis to sexual recombination. Diploidy was shown to be fundamental for the evolution of sex; bisexual reproduction emerged only among anisogamic diploids with a synergistic division of reproductive labor; and facultative sex was more likely to evolve among haploids practicing assortative mating. Looking at the evolution of sex as a complex system through individual-based simulations explains better the diversity of sexual strategies known to exist in nature, compared to classical analytical models.

 

Synergy from reproductive division of labor and genetic complexity drive the evolution of sex

Klaus Jaffe

Journal of Biological Physics

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