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Title: Sex releases the speed limit on evolution
Authors: Colegrave, Nick
Issue Date: 12-Dec-2002
Citation: Colegrave N, NATURE, 420 (6916): 664-666 DEC 12 2002
Publisher: Nature Publishing
Abstract: Explaining the evolutionary maintenance of sex remains a key problem in evolutionary biology (1–3). One potential benefit of sex is that it may allow a more rapid adaptive response when environmental conditions change, by increasing the efficiency with which selection can fix beneficial mutations (4–7). Here I show that sex can increase the rate of adaptation in the facultatively sexual single-celled chlorophyte Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, but that the benefits of sex depend crucially on the size of the population that is adapting: sex has a marked effect in large populations but little effect in small populations. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the benefits of sex in a novel environment, including stochastic effects in small populations, clonal interference and epistasis between beneficial alleles. These results indicate that clonal interference is important in this system.
Keywords: Sex
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
speed limit
Appears in Collections:Biological Sciences publications

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