Research Centre for Mathematical Modelling (RCM2)
FSPM
FSPM

Seminars (Colloquium)

Schedule:

Friday, 19.10.2018, 16ct, V3-204: Philip Gerrish, Atlanta/Bielefeld
Is there sex on other planets?

Abstract:
We ask the question: if an alien system of self-replicating entities were discovered, should we expect sex and/or recombination to be features of this system? Put differently, is there something about mutation and natural selection that inherently promotes the evolution of sex and recombination? Current theory finds many special circumstances in which sex and recombination might be expected to evolve, but this “patchwork of special cases” (with many holes) does not seem to fit the observations: in nature, sex and recombination are everywhere — spanning all environments and all levels of organismal size and complexity. Increasingly, even species traditionally thought to be asexual have been caught “having sex on the sly”. The observations, therefore, seem to call for an encompassing feature common to living things in general that promotes the evolution of sex and recombination. And we think we may have a candidate! We think this general feature might be none other than natural selection itself. I will show you what we’re thinking and how it works, will go through the case of structured populations which has a nice intuitive “visual proof” as well as a presentable “simplest case” proof, and will show you how far we’ve gotten with the full problem, with hopes for some nice feedback. This is joint work with Ben Sprung (Philadelphia), Julien Chevallier (Grenoble), and Bernard Ycart (Grenoble).

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