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Evolution

2004

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A Major Evolutionary Transition To More Than Two Sexes?, Joel D. Parker Feb 2004

A Major Evolutionary Transition To More Than Two Sexes?, Joel D. Parker

Joel D Parker

Two recently discovered cases of genetic caste determination in social insects might provide the first example of a major evolutionary transition from two to more than two sexes. I argue here that the system can be interpreted as comprising primarily individuals requiring gametes from three parental types and having four sexes from the perspective of demographic extinction. Additionally, I show how this mating system can be seen as a major evolutionary transition. For these populations, it is apparent that the mechanism for a three- or four-sex system does not lie within the myriad of possible arrangements of chromosomes within individuals ...