The latest post at the collaborative blog Nothing in Biology Makes Sense is from contributor C.J. Jenkins, who describes the fieldwork that’s taken her to the ends of the earth. Or, well, New Zealand, anyway.
A little over a quarter century ago, Curt Lively, noted this adorable little New Zealand snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) has sexual and asexual forms that coexist at varying frequencies in lakes across New Zealand. This variation suggests that there are some environments where it is advantageous to reproduce asexually and some environments where it is better to be sexual.
From then on P. antipodarumhas become an excellent system to study the evolution and maintanence of sexual reproduction, a long standing debate in evolutionary biology
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