New‐age ideas about age‐old sex: separating meiosis from mating could solve a century‐old conundrum

  title={New‐age ideas about age‐old sex: separating meiosis from mating could solve a century‐old conundrum},
  author={Michael Brandeis},
  journal={Biological Reviews},
  • M. Brandeis
  • Published 1 May 2018
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Biological Reviews
Ever since Darwin first addressed it, sexual reproduction reigns as the ‘queen’ of evolutionary questions. Multiple theories tried to explain how this apparently costly and cumbersome method has become the universal mode of eukaryote reproduction. Most theories stress the adaptive advantages of sex by generating variation, they fail however to explain the ubiquitous persistence of sexual reproduction also where adaptation is not an issue. I argue that the obstacle for comprehending the role of… 
Genome Evolution of Asexual Organisms and the Paradox of Sex in Eukaryotes
This review focuses on potentially detrimental effects of asexuality on genome evolution, and compares the different genomic features, life cycles, developmental pathways, and cytological mechanisms in the major eukaryotic groups, i.e., in protists, animals, fungi, and plants.
When acting as a reproductive barrier for sympatric speciation, hybrid sterility can only be primary
  • D. Forsdyke
  • Biology
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
  • 2019
While WCB incompatibilities have long been observed on a microscopic scale, there is growing evidence for a role of dispersed finer DNA sequence differences.
Symposium: The evolution and biodiversity of asexual organisms
This special issue is an outcome of the Symposium “The evolution and biodiversity of asexual organisms” at the international BioSyst.EU conference held in Gothenburg, Sweden, 15–18 August 2017 and presents seven papers dealing with various aspects of apomixis research in plants.
The relation of meiotic behaviour to hybridity, polyploidy and apomixis in the Ranunculus auricomus complex (Ranunculaceae)
Disturbed female meiosis is identified as potential elicitor of apomixis in order to rescue these plants from hybrid sterility, with diverging selective pressures on female and male sporogenesis, with only minor effects of hybridity on microsporogenesis, but fatal effects on the course of megasporogenesis.
Dimorphism in cryptophytes—The case of Teleaulax amphioxeia/Plagioselmis prolonga and its ecological implications
It is demonstrated that P. prolonga is the haploid form of the diploid T. amphioxeia and described the seasonal dynamics of these two life stages, which might explain the success of this species by fostering high genetic diversity and enabling endurance in adverse conditions.
The Evolutionary Establishment of Apomixis in Hybrids of the Ranunculus auricomus Complex: Developmental and Cytogenetic Studies
Results indicate that hybridization, rather than polyploidization, is the apomixis-triggering factor in synthetic Ranunculus plants, and the switch to asexual seed formation in young, diploid Ran unculus hybrids is a rescue from imminent hybrid sterility, which is assumed to be caused by disturbed female meiosis.
Repeated convergent evolution of parthenogenesis in Acariformes (Acari)
Possible reasons that favored the frequent diversification of parthenogenetic taxa including the continuous long‐term availability of dead organic matter resources as well as generalist feeding of species as indicated by natural variations in stable isotope ratios are discussed.
Novel Approaches for Species Concepts and Delimitation in Polyploids and Hybrids.
Hybridization and polyploidization are important processes for plant evolution. However, classification of hybrid or polyploid species has been notoriously difficult because of the complexity of


Constraints on the evolution of asexual reproduction
  • J. Engelstädter
  • Biology, Medicine
    BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
  • 2008
The intimate evolutionary relations between haplodiploidy and parthenogenesis as well as implications for the clade selection hypothesis of the maintenance of sexual reproduction are also discussed.
Gamete signalling underlies the evolution of mating types and their number
It is shown that isogamous gametes always interact asymmetrically throughout sex and it is argued that this asymmetry is favoured because it enhances the efficiency of the mating process.
Sex is a ubiquitous, ancient, and inherent attribute of eukaryotic life
It is speculated that eukaryotic sex likely developed as a cellular survival strategy, possibly in the context of internal reactive oxygen species stress generated by a (proto) mitochondrion, and might directly result from the very evolutionary mode by which eukARYotic cells arose.
The evolution of meiotic sex and its alternatives
This overview suggests that homologue pairing, double-strand break formation and homologous recombinational repair at prophase I are the least dispensable elements, and they are more likely optimized for repair of oxidative DNA damage rather than for recombination.
A combinational theory for maintenance of sex
It is difficult to give evidence for evolutionary advantages that would explain the predominance of meiotic sex in eukaryotes, but a combinational theory discussing evolution, maintenance and loss of sex may resolve the problem.
What do isogamous organisms teach us about sex and the two sexes?
This article asks what happens if there is a less than twofold benefit to sex, and argues that this could lead to a situation where lineages that evolve anisogamy—and thus the highest costs of sex—end up being associated with constraints that make invasion by asexual reproduction unlikely (the ‘an isogamy gateway' hypothesis).
The Evolution of Sex: a Perspective from the Fungal Kingdom
The state of the understanding of sex and its evolution in the fungal kingdom is reviewed and areas where the field has contributed and will continue to contribute to illuminating general principles and paradigms of sexual reproduction are reviewed.
Complementation, genetic conflict, and the evolution of sex and recombination.
  • M. Archetti
  • Biology, Medicine
    The Journal of heredity
  • 2010
It is shown that asexual reproduction has a short-term disadvantage due to the loss of complementation of recessive deleterious mutations, which can overcome the 2-fold cost of meiosis in one or few generations.
The molecular basis of the evolution of sex.
The evolution of sex can be viewed as a continuum on the repair hypothesis, that recombination is an adaptation for dealing with DNA damage, and that meiosis is designed for repairing DNA.
Having sex, yes, but with whom? Inferences from fungi on the evolution of anisogamy and mating types
It is argued that fungi represent highly suitable models to help resolve issues related to the evolution of distinct gamete classes, because the number of mating types vary from zero to thousands across taxa, anisogamy is present or not, and because there are frequent transitions between these conditions.