Navigation Links
Wayne State University researcher argues that sex reduces genetic variation

DETROIT Biology textbooks maintain that the main function of sex is to promote genetic diversity. But Henry Heng, Ph.D., associate professor in WSU's Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, says that's not the case.

Heng and fellow researcher Root Gorelick, Ph.D., associate professor at Carleton University in Canada, propose that although diversity may result from a combination of genes, the primary function of sex is not about promoting diversity. Rather, it's about keeping the genome context an organism's complete collection of genes arranged by chromosome composition and topology as unchanged as possible, thereby maintaining a species' identity. This surprising analysis has been published as a cover article in a recent issue of the journal Evolution.

"If sex was merely for increasing genetic diversity, it would not have evolved in the first place," said Heng. This is because asexual reproduction in which only one parent is needed to procreate leads to higher rates of genetic diversity than sex.

For nearly 130 years, traditional perceptions hold that asexual reproduction generates clone-like offspring and sexual reproduction leads to more diverse offspring. "In reality, however, the relationship is quite the opposite," said Heng.

And not only does asexual reproduction lead to higher rates of genetic diversity, it also is two times more efficient than sexual reproduction.

In fact, two billion years ago in Earth's biosphere, life relied exclusively on asexual reproduction, and every organism was capable of bearing young without costly competition to mate. With asexual species' faster and more efficient mode of reproduction, the origin and maintenance of sex not exactly the fittest means of reproduction puzzles scientists, who for decades have been asking, Why has sex evolved and survived?

Although many scientists have offered answers to this question, most have focused on the benefit of mixing or purifying genes. But by taking the genome theory into account, Heng's findings may have dethroned the queen of problems in evolutionary biology.

According to Heng, the hidden advantage sex has over asexual reproduction is that it constrains macroevolution evolution at the genome level to allow a species' identity to survive. In other words, it prevents "Species A" from morphing into "Species B." Meanwhile, it also allows for microevolution evolution at the gene level to allow members of the species to adapt to the environment.

Considering their observations and those of paleontologists, population geneticists and ecologists cited in the article, Heng and Gorelick argue that new research should focus on the genome, not just the individual genes, because the genome serves as both the genetic information unit and selection package for evolution.


Contact: Julie O'Connor
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

Related medicine news :

1. Community Health Systems, Inc.s Wayne T. Smith and Larry Cash Named Americas Top Healthcare CEO and CFO
2. Wayne State University study predicts risk of memory loss in healthy, older adults
3. Speaking the same language means better health care quality, Wayne State University study finds
4. Wayne State University researchers publish results settling multiple sclerosis debate
5. Wayne State study links testosterone with mens ability to woo potential mates
6. Wayne State leads study to improve management of cancer pain in African Americans
7. Wayne State researchers find new way to examine major depressive disorder in children
8. Wayne State University researchers win grant from the NSF to target tinnitus
9. Religion benefits traumatic brain injury victims, Wayne State University research finds
10. Health providers should emphasize breast cancer screening, Wayne State University research finds
11. Incidence of cerebal palsy on rise in United States
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/12/2017)... Fla. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, ... therapy products, announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder ... pad so you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... Asante, a nationally recognized health system in southern Oregon, ... health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, 2017, to create AccentCare ... company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the past eight years. This ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Restoration, has recently contributed a medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic ... Mohebi’s article spotlights the hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at Children’s National Health System will join ... International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Oct. 12-15. Chaired by Jeffrey Dome, ... at Children’s National, and Stephen P. Hunger, M.D., Chief of the Division of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Women-owned and Grand ... Best and Brightest in Wellness® by Best and Brightest. OnSite Wellness will be ... Oct. 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Henry Autograph Collection ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)...  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the combined central specialty pharmacy ... benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime), today officially began ... unveiling of new signage at its headquarters in ... a few other company-owned facilities across the country. This ... of whom will begin to see the AllianceRx Walgreens ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... The Rebound mobile app is poised to become a vital ... prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users to develop an ... their dosage in a safe, controlled manner while maximizing well-being. ... 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy 3 months of ... ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Early Signal ... wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring of patients ... a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health solutions for ... analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, cognitive, physiological ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: