The maintenance of sex is one of the most enduring puzzles in evolutionary biology. Despite considerable associated costs compared to asexuality a simple answer how sexuality keeps asexuality at bay remains elusive, although lots of theoretical and to a lesser extent empirical work were done on this topic.
To aid in the search for an answer rotifers are an excellent group for empirical work, as they are small and fast reproducing metazoans, which are relatively easy to cultivate. Furthermore, this group encompasses obligate sexual and asexual as well as facultative sexual reproducing species.
We will carry empirical work on the maintenance of sex out using facultative sexual reproducing monogonont rotifers, as they combine asexual reproduction with episodic sexual reproduction in one species.
Project participants: Claus Fischer, Olaf Bininda-Emonds, Wilko Ahlrichs