Sex and the emergence of species

Harris Bernstein, Henry C. Byerly, Frederic A. Hopf, Richard E Michod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We argue that the existence of species as distinct and relatively homogeneous groupings of individuals is a consequence of the nonlinear dynamics inherent in sexual reproduction. This approach provides an answer to two interrelated problems which Darwin posed and tried to solve. Why are there missing links (i.e. gaps) between species in habitat space, and why are there missing links between species in time as evidenced in the fossil record? A crucial difference between outcrossing sexual organisms (i.e. organisms in which mating is between different individuals) and obligate selfers or parthenogens lies in the dynamic of the underlying replication process. Replication is a linear function of density for obligate selfers or parthenogens but nonlinear for outcrossing sexuals. The nonlinearity stems from the simple fact that with outcrossing, two individuals must come together to mate. We argue that this fact leads to density dependent fitness (per capita rate of increase) with an intrinsic disadvantage of low population density. This cost of rarity results in a distribution of distinct species. By establishing the causal connections in evolution between outcrossing sex and the very existence of species as distinct collections of organisms, our account lends theoretical support to a unitary concept of species with interbreeding as the fundamental defining property.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-690
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume117
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 21 1985

Fingerprint

Nonlinear Dynamics
outcrossing
Population Density
Reproduction
Ecosystem
Costs and Cost Analysis
gender
organisms
Distinct
Replication
sexual reproduction
Costs
population density
fossils
Grouping
Linear Function
Fitness
stems
habitats
Nonlinearity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Sex and the emergence of species. / Bernstein, Harris; Byerly, Henry C.; Hopf, Frederic A.; Michod, Richard E.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 117, No. 4, 21.12.1985, p. 665-690.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bernstein, Harris ; Byerly, Henry C. ; Hopf, Frederic A. ; Michod, Richard E. / Sex and the emergence of species. In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 1985 ; Vol. 117, No. 4. pp. 665-690.
@article{8cf70f00077f4b6e985fbac329f48095,
title = "Sex and the emergence of species",
abstract = "We argue that the existence of species as distinct and relatively homogeneous groupings of individuals is a consequence of the nonlinear dynamics inherent in sexual reproduction. This approach provides an answer to two interrelated problems which Darwin posed and tried to solve. Why are there missing links (i.e. gaps) between species in habitat space, and why are there missing links between species in time as evidenced in the fossil record? A crucial difference between outcrossing sexual organisms (i.e. organisms in which mating is between different individuals) and obligate selfers or parthenogens lies in the dynamic of the underlying replication process. Replication is a linear function of density for obligate selfers or parthenogens but nonlinear for outcrossing sexuals. The nonlinearity stems from the simple fact that with outcrossing, two individuals must come together to mate. We argue that this fact leads to density dependent fitness (per capita rate of increase) with an intrinsic disadvantage of low population density. This cost of rarity results in a distribution of distinct species. By establishing the causal connections in evolution between outcrossing sex and the very existence of species as distinct collections of organisms, our account lends theoretical support to a unitary concept of species with interbreeding as the fundamental defining property.",
author = "Harris Bernstein and Byerly, {Henry C.} and Hopf, {Frederic A.} and Michod, {Richard E}",
year = "1985",
month = "12",
day = "21",
doi = "10.1016/S0022-5193(85)80246-0",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "117",
pages = "665--690",
journal = "Journal of Theoretical Biology",
issn = "0022-5193",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Sex and the emergence of species

AU - Bernstein, Harris

AU - Byerly, Henry C.

AU - Hopf, Frederic A.

AU - Michod, Richard E

PY - 1985/12/21

Y1 - 1985/12/21

N2 - We argue that the existence of species as distinct and relatively homogeneous groupings of individuals is a consequence of the nonlinear dynamics inherent in sexual reproduction. This approach provides an answer to two interrelated problems which Darwin posed and tried to solve. Why are there missing links (i.e. gaps) between species in habitat space, and why are there missing links between species in time as evidenced in the fossil record? A crucial difference between outcrossing sexual organisms (i.e. organisms in which mating is between different individuals) and obligate selfers or parthenogens lies in the dynamic of the underlying replication process. Replication is a linear function of density for obligate selfers or parthenogens but nonlinear for outcrossing sexuals. The nonlinearity stems from the simple fact that with outcrossing, two individuals must come together to mate. We argue that this fact leads to density dependent fitness (per capita rate of increase) with an intrinsic disadvantage of low population density. This cost of rarity results in a distribution of distinct species. By establishing the causal connections in evolution between outcrossing sex and the very existence of species as distinct collections of organisms, our account lends theoretical support to a unitary concept of species with interbreeding as the fundamental defining property.

AB - We argue that the existence of species as distinct and relatively homogeneous groupings of individuals is a consequence of the nonlinear dynamics inherent in sexual reproduction. This approach provides an answer to two interrelated problems which Darwin posed and tried to solve. Why are there missing links (i.e. gaps) between species in habitat space, and why are there missing links between species in time as evidenced in the fossil record? A crucial difference between outcrossing sexual organisms (i.e. organisms in which mating is between different individuals) and obligate selfers or parthenogens lies in the dynamic of the underlying replication process. Replication is a linear function of density for obligate selfers or parthenogens but nonlinear for outcrossing sexuals. The nonlinearity stems from the simple fact that with outcrossing, two individuals must come together to mate. We argue that this fact leads to density dependent fitness (per capita rate of increase) with an intrinsic disadvantage of low population density. This cost of rarity results in a distribution of distinct species. By establishing the causal connections in evolution between outcrossing sex and the very existence of species as distinct collections of organisms, our account lends theoretical support to a unitary concept of species with interbreeding as the fundamental defining property.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0022430319&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0022430319&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S0022-5193(85)80246-0

DO - 10.1016/S0022-5193(85)80246-0

M3 - Article

C2 - 4094459

AN - SCOPUS:0022430319

VL - 117

SP - 665

EP - 690

JO - Journal of Theoretical Biology

JF - Journal of Theoretical Biology

SN - 0022-5193

IS - 4

ER -