Sexual reproduction brings long-term benefits, study shows

Apr 09, 2012

Courtship rituals can be all-consuming, demanding time and effort – but now scientists have discovered why it might be worth it.

Attracting a mate – which can take significant effort, such as in a peacock's show of feathers or the exhaustive rutting of stags – can produce benefits for a species in the long term, a study suggests.

Scientists have shown that animals and plants which reproduce sexually are at a considerable advantage to those species – such as some insects and reptiles – that reproduce without a partner.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied in tiny fruit flies to learn more about how DNA is randomly shuffled when the genes of two parents combine to create a new individual.

They found that this recombination of genetic material allows for damaging elements of DNA – which might cause disease or other potential drawbacks – to be weeded out within a few generations. Individuals who inherit healthy genes tend to flourish and pass on their DNA to the next generation, while weaker individuals are more likely to die without reproducing.

The findings, made possible by genome sequencing technology, provide strong evidence to back up a long-standing theory that sexual reproduction, rather than asexual cloning of an individual, has long-term benefits for a species.

Scientists studied how the DNA of fruit flies is affected when the recombination of DNA does not occur. They found that harmful DNA quickly accumulates, making the species weaker overall in the long term.

Researchers say the findings may help inform the development of crop species with high yields. The study, published in Genome Biology and Evolution, was supported by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council.

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Provided by University of Edinburgh

3.3 /5 (6 votes)

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User comments : 8

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jet
Apr 09, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
vmircea
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 09, 2012
For animal and plant maybe so... But humans will evolve and if we need new dna we can inject in owr body. We can activate or dezactivate geens or so on... I belive that the future is rejuvenation of the body and of the mind.
yoatmon
3 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2012
For animal and plant maybe so... But humans will evolve and if we need new dna we can inject in owr body. We can activate or dezactivate geens or so on... I belive that the future is rejuvenation of the body and of the mind.


Rejuvenate your brain first; it seems that you may need it.
A2G
1 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2012
Really sweetie, I am only thinking of you...I read this study that reveals how sex is really good for you...

Please keep up the good work...
wwqq
5 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2012
We've been through this a dozen times now. A "good" gene bundled toghether with "bad" genes(maladaptive for the given environment and particular set of circumstances) in an asexually reproducing species cannot be inherited separately. They are inextricably linked.

In sexually reproducing organisms individual genes have a modicum of independence and you can play the genetic lottery until a number of good genes end up in the same organism and a number of bad genes are weeded out.
Tennex
1.5 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2012
The sexual reproduction is not always beneficial, which is why the bacteria are living in celibate in general. In dense aether model it's the optimal speed of mutations, which determines, whether the particular organism will breed sexually or not. The primitive bacteria can evolve fast with horizontal gene transfer and mutations, so they don't need to invest into sexual reproduction. The yeast cells or many protozoa can switch from sexual into asexual reproduction depending on the environmental stress: if the living conditions are getting harsh, the protozoa will use sexual reproduction, when they feel comfortably, they don't use it. Why? Because the sexual reproduction is connected with high frequency of mutations, which may become undesirable in wealthy living conditions. The organisms which are living in stable living conditions (for example the sharks at the bottom of ocean) therefore have tendency for parthenogenesis.
Tennex
1 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2012
We are choosing partners subconsciously by their genetic potential. In general, the individuals with high tendency of mutations are perceived sexually attractive, for example the people of mixed races are generally considered more attractive. Their faces are getting asymmetric and the mark of beauty indicates their high tendency to mutations, but the risk of cancer too.

There are many subtle connections, which do make this area quite interesting. For example, under wealthy life conditions the people are changing into asexual creatures, the sexual dimorphism between men and women is decreasing, the women suffer with tendency to parthenogenesis (endiometriosis), the men with infertility instead. On the other hand, during poor living conditions and natural disasters the people are changing into horny rabbits. We have these mechanisms hardwired in our genes.
vmircea
1 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2012
If you want to dye old it s your problem yoatmon.
All I want to say there is that humans must take a evolutionary step beyond the animals and plants and a step is this rejuveration of body and mind, the study does not include us because humans had tehnology, and scince.
vmircea
1 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2012
Tell me how they survived immortal species or asexuate species until now ? After this study the axexuate animals shood not existe... but are there and are very resistant. NO this is only a junk study. And yes the sex is good, just for fun not for reproduction.