Blackwell Publishing

Virtual Experiments

Directional selection Genetic drift Gene frequencies Mutational load Sex ratio Sexual reproduction

Many explanations of the advantages of sexual reproduction emphasize the role of recombination in bringing together beneficial mutations into a single genome, thus allowing a faster rate of evolution than would otherwise be possible.

This Virtual Experiment allows this hypothesis to be tested. Imagine an organism that is able to reproduce either sexually or asexually - many such organisms exist, such as Strawberry plants. A population of such organisms is simulated, and the proportion of reproduction that is sexual can be given as an input value before the experiment is run.

Fitness is calculated from the value of some character under selection. What are the effects on changes in mean fitness of different proportions of sexual reproduction? What might cause these results?

Click to download the program. (PC)