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Sex is good for you - if you’re a worm

July 13, 2011

A new report in the journal Science postulates that having sex is healthier for worms than reproducing asexually, the BBC reports. There’s probably many ways to make that sound dirty, but I’m not going to go there.

Researchers at Indiana University engineered two sets of round worms - some that could only reproduce by having sex and those that could only clone themselves. They found that the ones that got it on lived while those that didn’t croaked.

This led the scientists to theorize that the resultant intermingling of genes from sex resulted in worms being able to fight off parasites better. In other words, their genetic structures got stronger from sex.

Cue the misinterpretations. My favourite was a headline on a story from TG Daily: “Scientists say sex is key to evolution.”

I’m no scientist, but if I understood the experiment correctly, that headline might be correct… if the words “for worms” were appended. Last I checked, humans can’t - and never have - been able to reproduce asexually. Cue the dirty jokes.

Categories: sex
  1. July 13, 2011 at 1:47 am | #1

    If memory serves me correctly, according to the results of the human genome project, humans share no less than 75% of their genes with the rest of the fauna on the planet. That would seem to indicate to me that the headline has the right idea.

    Your statement that would seem to imply that there is no possible connection to anything other than worms is sadly something I would expect only to see in a Texas high school science book. Right next to the chapter on how the dinosaures perished 3000 years ago and how God made the universe in 6000BC

    • July 13, 2011 at 2:02 am | #2

      Good luck trying to reproduce by yourself then!

      • Randy
        July 14, 2011 at 12:35 am | #3

        Funny, your reply is completely without any substance… Consider getting more sleep before taking another shot at it Pete…

        If you take the time to re-read the study and the headlines, I believe the finding was that sex, and the resulting diversity of the gene pool results in a more robust species. Considering how robust the human species seems to have become, I would have to say that as the study suggests, any attempt to reproduce by myself would not do very much for the species.

        While I often agree with your views on things, sometimes all I hear is the whine of the “what about me / it’s all about me” generation.

        BTW - you obviously did not consider cloning in your reply?? (Although I could only produce males, women could asexually produce either a male or female.)

        PS. Marc V, Just a little dark no?? Might be time to consider yoga? Deep breathing?? You scare me dude!

  2. Marc Venot
    July 13, 2011 at 3:45 am | #4

    Does the parasite need sex in the genetic “arms race”?
    Capitalism and war is like sex since it’s a dog eats dog that force people and organization under stress to adapt.
    Nazism had the project of eugenism but at the end it was the German people who paid the ultimate price.

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