Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biologists identify influence of environment on sexual vs. asexual reproduction

Date:
October 15, 2010
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Evolutionary biologists have found that environment plays a key role in determining whether a species opts for sexual over asexual reproduction.

Evolutionary biologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) have found that environment plays a key role in determining whether a species opts for sexual over asexual reproduction.

The study, led by post-doctoral student Lutz Becks and Professor Aneil Agrawal of the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, found that species that inhabit spatially heterogenous environments -- habitats characterized by uneven concentrations of its own species among a rich variety of other animals and plants -- had higher rates of sexual reproduction than those in more homogenous environments.

"Sexual reproduction is pervasive across the tree of life," says Agrawal. "One of the classic questions in evolutionary biology is to determine why most organisms reproduce sexually rather than asexually. Whatever evolutionary force maintains this mode of reproduction across such a diversity of life must be one of the most powerful and important factors in biology. Our work suggests that spatial heterogeneity is one of these key factors."

Furthermore, sexual reproduction resulted in organisms that are adept across different environments, with different characteristics and more robust genetic constitutions than their asexually-reproducing counterparts.

"Put simply, sexual reproduction helps create genotypes that are better able to survive across different environments. In contrast, asexual reproduction yields types that are suited to only one environment," says Agrawal."

The scientists conducted their experiments with rotifers -- small aquatic organisms that are capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction. They allowed populations of rotifers to evolve in habitats that were either environmentally homogeneous or heterogeneous. Over a span of more than 70 generations, the tendency for sexual reproduction persisted at much higher levels in heterogeneous habitats and declined rapidly in homogeneous environments

The findings appear Oct. 13 in the journal Nature. The research is supported by funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and a fellowship from the Volkswagen Foundation in Germany awarded to Becks.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lutz Becks, Aneil F. Agrawal. Higher rates of sex evolve in spatially heterogeneous environments. Nature, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nature09449

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Biologists identify influence of environment on sexual vs. asexual reproduction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014121158.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2010, October 15). Biologists identify influence of environment on sexual vs. asexual reproduction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014121158.htm
University of Toronto. "Biologists identify influence of environment on sexual vs. asexual reproduction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014121158.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

AFP (July 29, 2014) The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

AFP (July 29, 2014) An infestation of rats is causing concern among tourists at Paris' most famous park -- the Tuileries garden next to the Louvre Museum. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins