Sex Frees Viruses From Genetic 'Ratchet'

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Science  28 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5343, pp. 1562-1563
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5343.1562b

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ARNHEM, THE NETHERLANDS-- At a meeting of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology here in August, researchers reported some of the best evidence yet supporting one explanation for why life has evolved the ability to reproduce sexually: that sex enables a population to free itself of harmful genetic mutations. Studies in RNA viruses forced to reproduce asexually showed a loss of reproductive fitness which was restored when the viruses were again allowed to reproduce sexually.

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