The adaptive value of sexual reproduction is still debated. A short-term disadvantage of asexual reproduction is loss of heterozygosity, which leads to the unmasking of recessive deleterious mutations. The cost of this loss of complementation is predicted to be higher than the twofold cost of meiosis for most types of asexual reproduction. Automixis with terminal fusion of sister nuclei is especially vulnerable to the effect of loss of complementation. It is found, however, in some taxa including oribatid mites, the most prominent group of ancient asexuals. Here, I show that automixis with terminal fusion is stable if it is associated with inverted meiosis and that this appears to be the case in nature, notably in oribatid mites. The existence of automixis with terminal fusion, and its co-occurrence with inverted meiosis, therefore, is consistent with the hypothesis that loss of complementation is important in the evolution of sexual reproduction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics