Scientists discover the point of sex

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by obeygiant, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #1
    From an evolutionary standpoint, sex is not an end in itself but a means to an end.

    link

    "Listen Honey, we just have to ward off these parasites!" :D
     
  2. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #2
    Rubbish research for the sake of gaining grant money.:rolleyes: Promote the man to Colonel Obvious, since this takes the Captain Obvious meme to a higher level.:p

    One cool thing came from this research, though. The have a way of genetically engineering a worm screw (no pun intended) with its reproduction.
     
  3. Daffodil macrumors 6502

    Daffodil

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    #3
    Might be obvious, but like they say, now at least there's solid evidence to support it, which I guess is science doing its thing... :)
     
  4. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #4
    I thought that we've known this since at least the 80's and have shown it empirically several times with species capable of sexual and asexual reproduction?

    What is new here? This experiment has been done a lot of times(or at least Matt Ridely's The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature says that it has).
     
  5. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #5
    I don't believe prior research ever took such an involved look at the impact from a particular type of threat.

    It was also harder to conclude in the past that sexual reproduction is necessarily superior to asexual reproduction because many species are successful even though they reproduce asexually to this day. Asexual reproduction usually involves expending less energy, reducing the risk of genetic disorders in offspring, and allowing a successful gene to promulgate more rapidly in a population (since alleles wouldn't be mixed in the offspring).

    This research fundamentally proves an important aspect of evolution, however: a mechanism that allows for more changes in allele frequency will be better suited for survival in a parasitic environment. It's always made sense on paper, but now we can look to this research as proof.
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    This experiment doesn't sound too convincing, IMO.


    Find the right bacteria, find the right worms with the right DNA, and perhaps asexual reproduction may have been the best way to survive.
     
  7. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #7
    If you need a "point" for sex, then you're thinking about it too much.

    It feels good, and it makes babies. Just have it. :cool:
     
  8. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #8
    I knew there was a reason, now if I can just convince the wife!:D
     
  9. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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  10. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    #10
    Color me stupid. I thought it was to keep my testicles from exploding.
     
  11. pianojoe macrumors 6502

    pianojoe

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  12. LordDixon macrumors newbie

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  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #13
    Let me know when they discover the blunt of sex. :eek:
     
  14. cleanup, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011

    cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

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    #14
    The topic title is misleading. Nothing has really been discovered here. Scientists have known the point of sex for years. It's a linchpin of Darwinian theory. Sexual reproduction is the only practical way to create diversity in a gene pool. Any inbreeding/asexual reproduction just increases the chance you're going to essentially cripple your progeny. It's always nice to have tangible evidence for these sorts of grandiose theories but it's not exactly mind-boggling when the studies turn out the way they do. This is a no-brainer.

    Evolutionary theory is one of the most powerful ideas the human race has ever come up with. It's fundamental simplicity can literally explain anything in the natural world. I find it incredible when people first learn about evolutionary theory and a light ticks on in their brain; it's like a reawakening, but the fact is, these ideas have been around for decades upon decades.
     
  15. RawBert macrumors 68000

    RawBert

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  16. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #16
    This isn't entirely true. Bacteria are a prime example of asexual reproduction working fantastically well since many species are some of the most prolific on the planet. Rapid generations and frequent mutation are far more effective than sexual reproduction for things like the E. Coli in your tummy.
     
  17. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    #17
    That was invented by God. He "gets" it.
     
  18. cleanup, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011

    cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

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    #18
    That's why I said practical. Ridiculously short generation time and log growth isn't energetically or physically possible for higher organisms. Sexual reproduction scales much better, covering many more magnitudes of size and complexity than asexual reproduction (I'm not including animals that take part in parthenogenesis and etc., or fungi, since these almost always have the ability to sexually reproduce as well). And it's not really the frequent mutation that's most effective at creating diversity in bacteria, but rather the recombination that occurs in the genome spontaneously, essentially mimicking what happens between homologous pairs during meiosis in say you or me. Beyond that, it's not like bacteria don't exchange genetic material; it's not sex, but they still do the dirty business that passes virulence or resistance genes between individuals.

    Essentially, sex rules. The appearance of sex on the evolutionary timeline was instrumental in giving rise to anything more complicated than a single-celled eukaryote.
     
  19. DrNeroCF macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Uh, seriously? If animals just cloned themselves, then natural selection WOULDN'T WORK.

    So yeah...

    God I hate scientists sometimes...
     
  20. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #20
    Not true at all. Some species (not just bacteria) engage in asexual reproduction but are still subject to natural selection. Allele frequency can still change and that's the crucial element.
     
  21. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #21
    Ok, so sex beats cloning oneself. Got it. But why does sex beat out self-fertilization? Does the increase in alleles really make that much difference, over, say, an organism that could self-fertalize (not clone) and had evolved a better immune system?
     
  22. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #22
    It's on the tip of my tongue...
     
  23. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #23
    From what I've read:
    Viruses are like keys to your immune system's locks. When you reproduce asexually yourself, the locks do not change much. When you reproduce sexually, the your locks change a lot(because there are several thousand combinations of possible locks). This makes parasites and viruses have to mutate longer to be able to successfully infect an organism.
     

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