Jul 11, 2011
Researchers at the University of Indiana have claimed to have discovered the crucial link between sex and survival. According to them, species that reproduce via sexual intercourse are far more resilient to parasitical attacks and have higher chances of survival.
For the study, researchers exposed two sets of worms to harmful bacteria. Of the two, one set could reproduce only through intercourse and other, asexually. It was found that worms which were the result of reproduction fared better than worms that had been reproduced asexually.
This research throws light on the fact as to why animals prefer reproducing sexually rather than clone themselves to produce offspring. Sexual reproduction leads to the intermingling of two genomes which leads to a new genetic code in the offspring. This makes the offspring strong and also helps them in countering bacterial attacks.
This research is in alliance with the Red Queen hypothesis which states that self-fertilisation or cloning makes a species weak and susceptible to bacterial attacks. On the other hand cross-fertilisation makes a species stronger and it also enables them to fight bacteria and parasites. This is important because bacteria and parasites are ever evolving species which are forever on the lookout to locate hosts and infect them.