Sex and the single evening primrose

January 13th, 2015

Source: U of T News

Elaine Smith 

Sex or no sex? That depends on how you feel about harmful mutations, says new research from the University of Toronto.

Using various species of the evening primrose (Oenothera) as his model, Jesse Hollister, a former U of T post-doctoral fellow, and his colleagues have demonstrated strong support for a theory that biologists have long promoted: species that reproduce sexually, rather than asexually, are healthier over time, because they don’t accumulate harmful mutations.

Primrose

The evening primrose shows sexual reproduction carries a lower risk of harmful mutations than asexual reproduction (photo by Professor Marc Johnson)