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Re: Parthenogenesis in vertebrates



>Having all the
>>offspring be female could pose a problem for genetic
>>variability, but that's about it.

Actually, parthenogenesis can be even more successful in the short
term for producing healthy offspring than sexual reproduction ("if it
ain't broke..."). It generally requires less energy than sexual
reproduction (no need to waste time and effort finding a mate), and
the offspring will automatically have the parent's genetics that
allowed the parent to survive in its environment. It is only in the
long term, as the environment changes, requiring new combinations of
characters, that parthenogenesis loses its edge. Many invertebrates
that can pass through multiple generations in a year, such as aphids,
reproduce parthenogenetically over summer while things are good, then
start producing males and reproducing sexually as conditions
deteriorate towards winter. Bdelloid rotifers have gained a certain
notoriety in evolutionary biology circles by apparently having been
solely parthenogenetic for many millions of years.

    Cheers,

        Christopher Taylor