How to Survive 50 Million Years Without Sex
Staying celibate can be a difficult task. How have these microscopic animals managed it?
Staying celibate can be a difficult task, but bdelloid rotifers have managed to survive without sex for nearly 50 million years.
Scientists now think they have cracked the secret to these microscopic animals’ success: recombining their own genes in new ways and stealing genes from other organisms living nearby, thus keeping genetic diversity alive and well—even without the DNA from a mate.
“This animal has lost its sexuality,” said study co-author Olivier Jaillon of Genoscope, part of the Institut de Génomique du CEA in France.
Jaillon said the results of the study gave him one of the very rare moments in a career when you feel you’ve really “found something.”
Bdelloid rotifers are microscopic, multicellular animals that look and move a lot like