The real reason evolution shouldn’t be taught in school: Or, sex evolved in order to … what WAS that?

Prevent parasite infections by promoting "genetic variation" (Jul 7, 2011):

Sexual reproduction, then, serves as a way to keep introducing genetic variety, a process that has to constantly be repeated in order to continue staving off attacks the latest and deadliest parasites. This is known as the "Red Queen Hypothesis", taking its name from a line in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass in which, "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

But no, wait. According to another study, "Sex Is Not About Promoting Genetic Variation, Researchers Argue" (ScienceDaily, July 7, 2011):

Heng and fellow researcher Root Gorelick, Ph.D., associate professor at Carleton University in Canada, propose that although diversity may result from a combination of genes, the primary function of sex is not about promoting diversity. Rather, it's about keeping the genome context — an organism's complete collection of genes arranged by chromosome composition and topology — as unchanged as possible, thereby maintaining a species' identity.

This surprising analysis has been published as a cover article in a recent issue of the journal Evolution.

"If sex was merely for increasing genetic diversity, it would not have evolved in the first place," said Heng. This is because asexual reproduction — in which only one parent is needed to procreate — leads to higher rates of genetic diversity than sex.

Okay. This is the real reason evolution shouldn't be taught in school. Not Right now, it's just a pack of warring media releases.

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Denyse O'Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

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