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On Genetic Segregation and the Evolution of Sex

Pamela Wiener, Marcus W. FelDIan and Sarah P. Otto
Evolution
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Jun., 1992), pp. 775-782
DOI: 10.2307/2409645
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409645
Page Count: 8
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On Genetic Segregation and the Evolution of Sex
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Abstract

It has recently been argued that because the genetic load borne by an asexual species resulting from segregation, relative to a comparable sexual population, is greater than two, sex can overcome its twofold disadvantage and succeed. We evaluate some of the assumptions underlying this argument and discuss alternative assumptions. Further, we simulate the dynamics of competition between sexual and asexual types. We find that for populations of size 100 and 500 the advantages of segregation do not outweigh the cost of producing males. We conclude that, at least for small populations, drift and the cost of sex govern the evolution of sexuality, not selection or segregation. We believe, however, that if sexual and asexual populations were isolated for a sufficiently long period, segregation might impart a fitness advantage upon sexuals that could compensate for the cost of sex and allow sexuals to outcompete asexuals upon their reunion.

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