Blackwell Publishing

Adaptations in sexual reproduction - Why do organisms reproduce sexually?


Lower extinction rates

It has been known since a paper by Weismann in 1886 that asexual reproduction has a peculiar taxonomic distribution. It is usually confined to an odd species, or perhaps a whole genus, within a larger taxonomic group that mainly reproduces sexually; only very rarely is it found throughout a larger phylogenetic group.

The spindly taxonomic distribution of asexual reproduction suggests that asexual lineages have a higher extinction rate than sexual lineages - that asexual lineages usually do not last long enough to diversify into a genus or higher taxonomic level.

Figure: the taxonomic distribution of asexual reproduction is spindly; it is found in odd, isolated taxa.

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