1990, pp 175-197

Genetic Diversity and the Ecology of Asexual Populations

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Abstract

Sexual reproduction in plants and animals involves a highly conserved set of mechanisms that result in genetic recombination. As a consequence of segregation, assortment, and crossing-over of genes during meiosis, a sexual individual has the capacity to produce an immense variety of haploid gametes. Random fusion of these gametes into new zygotes produces an even greater variety of diploid genotypes, ensuring that each offspring is essentially unique. There must be a significant evolutionary benefit to this fundamental process, because nearly all higher organisms reproduce sexually, at least during some stage of their life cycles.