Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Ancient creatures are 'evolutionary scandal'

Creatures that have abstained from sex for up to 100 million years are giving evolutionary scientists a headache.

Sex is not just important for reproduction - it helps scramble genes much more quickly than random DNA mutations and helps new species to evolve and emerge as the environment changes.

But there here is one ugly fact in the way of this beautiful theory: the bdelloid rotifers, a strange group of translucent organisms that abandoned sex long ago, a state of affairs once denounced as an “evolutionary scandal’ by the late and great biologist Prof John Maynard Smith. Read more

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