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Journal Article

The effect of sex on the mean and variance of fitness in facultatively sexual rotifers

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Becks, L., & Agrawal, A. F. (2011). The effect of sex on the mean and variance of fitness in facultatively sexual rotifers. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24(3), 656-664. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02199.x.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-101F-F
The evolution of sex is a classic problem in evolutionary biology. While this topic has been the focus of much theoretical work, there is a serious dearth of empirical data. A simple yet fundamental question is how sex affects the mean and variance in fitness. Despite its importance to the theory, this type of data is available for only a handful of taxa. Here, we report two experiments in which we measure the effect of sex on the mean and variance in fitness in the monogonont rotifer, Brachionus calyciflorus. Compared to asexually derived offspring, we find that sexual offspring have lower mean fitness and less genetic variance in fitness. These results indicate that, at least in the laboratory, there are both short- and long-term disadvantages associated with sexual reproduction. We briefly review the other available data and highlight the need for future work.