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Why Sex is Good


Clyde Freeman Herreid
Department of Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo


This interrupted case is based on a 2005 article in Nature written by three scientists from the Imperial College London that deals with the issue of sexual vs. asexual reproduction and their relative merits—a question that has bedeviled biologists for over 100 years. The article serves as the final stage of this case focusing on why sex is good (at least in some circumstances). Written for a general biology class where the question of evolution is considered, the case would also be appropriate for use in an evolution or ecology course.

  • To emphasize the methods of designing and collecting evidence to test a hypothesis.
  • To examine a major hypothesis in evolutionary theory—the evolution of sex.
Keywords: Evolution of sex; sexual reproduction; asexual reproduction; genetic variation; binary fission; parthenogenesis; August Weismann; Rolf Hoekstra
Topical Area: Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted, Journal Article
Language: English
Subject Headings: Evolutionary Biology   Ecology   Biology (General)  
Date Posted: 09/05/05
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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