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Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895

10. SEX Previous | Next

There are better ways to reproduce

NO one knows why we reproduce by having sex. All the arguments in favour of sex are countered by stronger arguments in favour of self-cloning: asexual reproduction, where an organism produces a copy of itself, is a much more efficient way to pass your genes down to the next generation. The puzzle is, why hasn’t asexual reproduction taken over? Asexual reproduction does exist in patches of the natural world, but sex is everywhere.

To Charles Darwin, the reason for the prevalence of sexual reproduction was “hidden in darkness”. More than a century later, in 1976, Maynard Smith said the problem with sex was so intransigent it made him feel "some essential feature of the system is being overlooked." Three decades later, the problem is still here.

The intriguing thing is, if you look at sex in terms of how it evolved its relationship with death, some interesting things begin to emerge. Could it be that sex is not the prime driver biology has taught us to believe?

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Location:Petaluma, CA

#1 - Posted: 07/09/2008 00:21

Sex began as a form of reproduction very early in the evolution of life.  The participants were single celled creatures.  Llike so many other forms of evolution, it was accidental and would not have survived except that it caused some advantage to the species in terms of survival.  It is still doing so or it would self-destruct.  Bananas are not sexual anymore, but once in their history their ancestors were. When you eat one, you can notice little blaci spects in the center of the pulp:  they are what is left of seeds that onetime reproduced sexually.   It is possible man will reproduce asexually some day in the future in order to preserve a given set of traits that would be lost in the sexual world.

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