XIII.3.4 Sexual reproduction can be adaptive from the perspective of a selfish gene or a parasite

Intuition suggests that only structures and mechanisms that represent some kind of selection advantage for their carriers can emerge in evolution (an advantage for the individual, for the population or for the particular species).However, this impression is erroneous.There are a number of situations in which organisms exhibit properties that are clearly detrimental for their carriers, providing an advantage for someone else at his expense.This fact forms the basis for hypotheses about the emergence of sexual reproduction as a manifestation of a selfish gene or as a manifestation of a parasite (Hickey 1993; Bell 1993).

            The idea that one of the most obvious (and most pleasant) patterns of behaviour of contemporary organisms, sexual reproduction, could be a manifestation of the activity of a selfish gene or even a parasite is somewhat surprising.However, the unusualness of an idea is not an argument for or against the validity of a scientific hypothesis.s

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more
Draft translation from: Evoluční biologie, 2. vydání (Evolutionary biology, 2nd edition), J. Flegr, Academia Prague 2009. The translation was not done by biologist, therefore any suggestion concerning proper scientific terminology and language usage are highly welcomed. You can send your comments to flegratcesnet [dot] cz. Thank you.