Now a biologist at Michigan Technological University has found one good reason: sexual reproduction strengthens an organism’s ability to adapt; specifically, it may lead to stronger disease resistance.
Erika Hersch-Green tested the idea on 32 different species of evening primroses. These native North American wildflowers are unusual in that a number of species reproduce asexually, essentially through cloning themselves. That allowed Hersch-Green and her colleagues to compare 16 species that reproduce sexually with an equal number that function asexually.
Scientists believe that sexual reproduction offers two big advantages: It can sweep bad mutations out of the gene pool more quickly. Also, by shuffling parents’ genetic material e