• Thu, Mar 2 2006

Sexiness Doesn’t Mean Better Health

This blog needs a little more pizazz. Maybe some sex appeal will do it.

Ricardo Azevedo, an assistant professor in the department of biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston, has come up with a model suggesting that sexual reproduction may be good for the human species as a whole but potentially deleterious to individuals. Sex makes it possible to magnify the effects of negative mutations so that those who have too many defects get weeded out by natural selection.

This explanation apparently justifies otherwise risky sexual reproduction which is associated with sexually transmitted diseases and an excess burden on females. Asexuality would be much simpler but as Azevedo said, it’s an evolutionary dead end.

So, if you’re the type of person who seems to incur a higher than average number of mutations, sexual reproduction would make it easier for you and your partner to pass on these mutations thus targeting your weak link for elimination from the human race. This type of negative epistasis in which the collection of mutations negatively interact with each other and cause greater damage is re-enforced by sexual reproduction.

Thus far, nothing has been proven by observation and it’s not as if there’s anything we can do about it anyway. Or is there…?

Nature, March 2, 2006
EurekAlert, March 1, 2006
LiveScience.com, March 1, 2006

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  • http://brainblogger.com/ Drug Rehab

    It’s clear that the human body is slowly mutating in time. When I say time I mean probably a couple of thousand of years. Is this mutation natural or is it induced by the environment we live in? Maybe all this pollution will affect our children’s kids…