Sinless Originals

Science  19 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5469, pp. 1185-1186
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5469.1185

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The bdelloid rotifers are a group of microscopic invertebrates that live in fresh water and moist terrestrial habitats. They have acquired considerable notoriety among evolutionary biologists because--in defiance of all theoretical expectations--they are suspected of having lived entirely without sex for more than 40 million years. In their Perspective, Judson and Normark examine new genetic evidence (Mark Welch and Meselson) showing that the bdelloid rotifers have indeed evolved without sexual reproduction, and they discuss the implications of these results for understanding theories of the evolution of sex.