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Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 770–777 | Cite as

A Case for the Extreme Antiquity of Recombination

  • Niles LehmanEmail author
Article

Abstract

Recombination is usually assumed to be a mode of reproduction that evolved long after asexual reproduction in response to specific genetic and environmental circumstances. Here the argument is made that recombination was an evolutionary development as ancient as the origins of life. To support this proposition four lines of evidence are given, in particular, the need for primordial genomes to acquire substantial length and to escape from Muller’s Ratchet.

Keywords

Recombination Origins of life Origins of sex Muller’s Ratchet 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I thank A. Krummel, M. Zwick, and two anonymous reviewers for insightful comments on the manuscript, and NASA for funding (NAG5-11441).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryPortland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207USA

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