Why Do We Have Sex (Apart from the Obvious Reason)?

Excerpted from New Scientist: The Origin of (almost) Everything, written by Graham Lawton and illustrated by Jennifer Daniel.

The birds and the bees and, of course, the fleas. Plants, fungi and amoebas too. It sometimes seems like sex is everywhere. But in biological terms, it is a minority pursuit. For the first 2 billion years of life on Earth, it didn’t exist. Even now, the organisms that dominate the planet – bacteria and archaea –don’t bother.

The origin of sex, then, is a bit...

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