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Evolution of sex

The evolution of sex is one of the most puzzling questions in evolutionary biology, because of the two-fold ‘cost of males’. To account for the high abundance of sex in the world, sexual reproduction should have at least a two-fold advantage over asexuality. Despite many attempts, it remains a major challenge to find an explanation that will account for the prevalence of sex under the varied conditions found in nature. An even harder question is why so many organisms reproduce sexually so often: according to almost all the current theories, rare sexual encounters supplementing common asexual reproduction would carry most of the benefits of sex and very few of its disadvantages. We are studying these questions in the context of three different factors: sexual selection, epigenetic regulation and the co-evolution of mutation and sex.

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