Putting Theory to the Test

Science  25 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5385, pp. 1980-1982
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5385.1980

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What makes sex so alluring from an evolutionary standpoint? Most theories suggest that sex and recombination remove harmful mutations or allow new combinations of genes to come together, providing more opportunities for improved fitness and offering the flexibility to adapt to new environments. Biologists are finding new ways to test these theories, observing populations in the wild and in the lab and counting mutation rates in organisms from flies to humans, but proving that they are actually operating in the natural world remains a challenge.