Monday, October 22, 2007
No sex please, we're Bdelloid Rotifers
Reuters reports: [edited]
A microscopic organism has thrived despite remaining celibate for tens of millions of years. The question was how the creatures found in pools of water accomplished this feat without the gene-swapping made possible by sexual reproduction.
In the words of one of the researchers, "Sexual reproduction is supposed to be a good thing in evolution, so when you come across an organism like the bdelloid, which hasn't engaged in sexual reproduction for tens of millions of years, you begin to question why sex is important."
Although research is continuing, these creatures seem to have processes that allows their genes to drift apart and evolve on their own, using molecular cloning techniques.