Navigation Links
Wayne State University researcher argues that sex reduces genetic variation
Date:7/7/2011

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
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
313-577-8845
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... The annual time frame to change Medicare health ... is ending December 7th. Currently-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries who are looking to switch from their ... D) need to make changes during this period order for their new policy to ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... More than ... and while 84 percent of parents report speaking with their child about sex related ... sexually transmitted diseases. , Mediaplanet is proud to announce the launch of its second ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Sourced from the Isbre Springs beneath the 5,000 ... unmatched natural purity of just 6 ppm TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) in addition to ... been available in several ShopRite and FoodTown stores in NJ and received rave comments ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 ... ... over 5,100 hot meals to needy individuals and families from eight different sites ... Florida on Thanksgiving Day. Over 1,000 volunteers worked very hard on Thanksgiving morning ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... they now offer a comprehensive in-house dental plan for all patients. Understanding that ... a plan that gives patients a number of perks, including discounts on many ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... YORK , December 2, 2016 ... Braces & Support) is Expected to Gain a Significant Market ... to Orthopedic Ailments  ... , According to ... Study on Medical Implants Sterile Packaging: Clamshell Product Type Segment ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... On Thursday, the NASDAQ Composite and ... the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to stay in green. ... which prompted Stock-callers this morning to look at the performances ... NUVA ), Smith & Nephew PLC (NYSE: SNN ... Cesca Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: KOOL ). You can ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... -- The concept of rare diseases and the idea that ... has been taking shape in Europe ... initiatives related to orphan medicinal products have been emerging at ... states individually. Many member states in the EU have led ... medicinal products, the result of which took the shape of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: