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ClonalityThe Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution of Sexual Abstinence in Vertebrate Animals$
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John C. Avise

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369670

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369670.001.0001

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Sexuality: The Antithesis of Clonality

Sexuality: The Antithesis of Clonality

(p.15) CHAPTER TWO Sexuality: The Antithesis of Clonality

John C. Avise

Oxford University Press

Sexual reproduction is the antithesis of clonality because genes that are faithfully copied during asexual replication are genetically scrambled (recombined) during the sexual processes of meiosis and fertilization. Sex has long been an evolutionary enigma because it appears at face value to entail several fitness costs and risks in the short term whereas its potential benefits would seem to be rather diffuse and postponed. This chapter reviews the diverse explanations for recombinational sex, ranging from the level of molecular genetics to the echelons of short-term ecology and long-term evolution. It thus sets the stage for the book's extended thesis that any attempt to understand the adaptive significance of sex is likely to be facilitated by analyzing clonal systems, and vice versa.

Keywords:   sexual reproduction, meiosis, fertilization, recombination, adaptive significance

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