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Value of sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction

Date:
January 25, 2010
Source:
University of Iowa
Summary:
Living organisms have good reason for engaging in sexual, rather than asexual, reproduction according to scientists.
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The study looked at sexual, as well as asexual, varieties of a New Zealand freshwater snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, by sequencing mitochondrial genomes and found that the sexually reproducing snails had accumulated harmful DNA mutations at about half the rate of the asexual snails.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Iowa

Living organisms have good reason for engaging in sexual, rather than asexual, reproduction according to Maurine Neiman, assistant professor of biology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and researcher in the Roy J. Carver Center for Genomics.

In an article published in a recent issue of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, she and her colleagues, including John M. Logsdon Jr., associate professor of biology, examined the theory that sexual reproduction, while requiring more time and energy than asexual reproduction, is also much more common among living organisms and, therefore, must be very beneficial.

The study looked at sexual, as well as asexual, varieties of a New Zealand freshwater snail (left), Potamopyrgus antipodarum, by sequencing mitochondrial genomes and found that the sexually reproducing snails had accumulated harmful DNA mutations at about half the rate of the asexual snails.

"This is the first study to compare mutation accumulation in a species where sexual individuals and asexual individuals regularly coexist, and thus provides the most direct evidence to date that sex helps to counter the accumulation of harmful mutations," said Neiman.

Neiman plans to continue her evolutionary biology research such that a clearer understanding of the advantages of sex will offer a better understanding of the value of preserving genetic diversity within and among populations, species, and ecological communities.

The research was funded by the Carver Trust.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maurine Neiman, Gery Hehman, Joseph T. Miller, John M. Logsdon, Jr., and Douglas R. Taylor. Accelerated Mutation Accumulation in Asexual Lineages of a Freshwater Snail. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2009; DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msp300

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University of Iowa. "Value of sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121161238.htm>.
University of Iowa. (2010, January 25). Value of sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121161238.htm
University of Iowa. "Value of sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121161238.htm (accessed July 28, 2015).

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