Evolution Intelligent Design

How animals survive without sexual reproduction

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Contrary to widespread assumptions among biologists:

The animal they studied is the beetle mite Oppiella nova. Until now, the survival of an animal species over a geologically long period of time without sexual reproduction was considered very unlikely, if not impossible. However, the team of zoologists and evolutionary biologists from the Universities of Cologne and Göttingen as well as the University in Lausanne (Switzerland) and the University of Montpellier (France), demonstrated for the first time the so-called Meselson effect in animals in the ancient asexual beetle mite species O. nova. The Meselson effect describes a characteristic trace in the genome of an organism that suggests purely asexual reproduction. The results have been published in PNAS.

University of Cologne, “Some animal species can survive successfully without sexual reproduction” at ScienceDaily (September 22, 2021)

It’s apparent that no one really knows how they do it:

The existence of ancient asexual animal species like O. nova are difficult for evolutionary biologists to explain because asexual reproduction seems to be very disadvantageous in the long run. Why else do almost all animal species reproduce purely sexually? Animal species such as O. nova, which consist exclusively of females, are therefore also called ‘ancient asexual scandals.’ Proving that the ancient asexual scandals really do reproduce exclusively asexually, as hypothesized (and that they have been doing so for a very long time), is a very complex undertaking: According to first author of the study Dr Alexander Brandt of the University of Lausanne, ‘There could be, for example, some kind of “cryptic” sexual exchange that is not known. Or not yet known. For example, very rarely a reproductive male could be produced after all — possibly even “by accident.” ” Purely asexual reproduction, however, at least theoretically leaves behind a particularly characteristic trace in the genome: the Meselson effect…

Their efforts were ultimately rewarded: they succeeded in proving the Meselson effect. ‘Our results clearly show that O. nova reproduces exclusively asexually. When it comes to understanding how evolution works without sex, these beetle mites could still provide a surprise or two,’ Bast concluded. The results show: the survival of a species without sexual reproduction is quite rare, but not impossible. The research team will now try to find out what makes these beetle mites so special.

University of Cologne, “Some animal species can survive successfully without sexual reproduction” at ScienceDaily (September 22, 2021)

Hmmm. Another dogma for the museum.

The paper is open access.

11 Replies to “How animals survive without sexual reproduction

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Flowering plants and some animals have a two-way strategy. Reproduce by budding or stolons when things are stable and comfy, then send out flowers or swarming sexual forms when things get dicey. It could be that this mite is always comfy.

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    polistra – yes, that would be my guess too (along with a large population size and probably a few extra complications, because biology is like that).

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    From the linked Science Daily article we find this claim,

    So far, scientists have seen the great evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction in the genetic diversity produced in offspring by the encounter of two different genomes that a pair of parents can supply. In organisms with two sets of chromosomes, i.e. two copies of the genome in each of their cells, such as humans and also beetle mite species that reproduce sexually, sex ensures a constant ‘mixing’ of the two copies. That way, genetic diversity between different individuals is ensured, but the two copies of the genome within the same individual remain on average very similar.

    Although the article claims that scientists “have seen the great evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction in the genetic diversity produced in offspring” the article leaves a couple of irresolvable problems for Darwinists with sexual reproduction unstated.

    First off, (like the origin of life itself), Darwinists simply have no clue how sexual reproduction itself could have first evolved,

    Another whack at the “sex paradox” – July 1, 2014
    Excerpt: The article is most informative about tests done on the various theses but in the end (they state). And so the paradox of sex lives on. “We still really don’t know the answer to this very most basic question,” says Mark Welch. “We don’t know why sex exists.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....x-paradox/

    New book challenges sexual selection theory in evolution – May 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Darwin’s Secret Sex Problem What Darwin Ignored,,,
    Darwin never seriously confronted the crucial, insurmountable gap in his grand theory between asexual replication and sexual reproduction. Nor could Darwins famed natural selection have provided simultaneous on-time delivery of the first male/female pair of millions of sexually unique species required for evolutions bedrock premise of common descent, a fundamental flaw fatal to the romanticized microbe-to-man Evolution Story.
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/new-book-challenges-sexual-selection-theory-in-evolution/

    “How did the sexes originate? Why is it that the vast majority of living things require a “male and female” to reproduce? If evolution were true – doesn’t it make much more sense that EVERY living organism was self-replicating and required no useless energy expenditure? When did the first male get here? When did the first female get here? How? Why? Wouldn’t they have had to appear fully functional and at the same time in order for the next generation of organisms to arrive? Of course, they would. So, how is it that the first male and female for almost 2 million living organisms arrived together and fully functional so that reproduction could take place? “Sex is the QUEEN of evolutionary biology problems.”
    – Dr. Graham Bell – ‘The Masterpiece of Nature’ The Evolution and Genetics of Sexuality – 1982, – The Masterpiece of Nature examines sex as representative of the most important challenge to the modern theory of evolution.,,,

    In fact, sexual reproduction simply makes no sense under Darwinian presuppositions.

    As Dr. Randolph Nesse stated to Richard Dawkins, “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”?

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but highly efficient asexual reproduction, be realistically ‘selected’ for?

    The following graph explains the ‘logic of Natural Selection’ in a very easy to understand manner,

    The Logic of Natural Selection – graph
    http://recticulatedgiraffe.wee.....35.jpg?308

    As Charles Darwin himself stated, “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”

    “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – pg. 66

    In terms of “striving to the utmost to increase in numbers”, bacteria should be considered the pinnacle of evolutionary success. As the following article notes, Bacteria have “generation times of 20 to 30 minutes, and populations achieved after 18 hours.”

    Scant search for the Maker – 2001
    Excerpt: But where is the experimental evidence? None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of 20 to 30 minutes, and populations achieved after 18 hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another, in spite of the fact that populations have been exposed to potent chemical and physical mutagens and that, uniquely, bacteria possess extrachromosomal, transmissible plasmids. Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms.
    – Alan H. Linton – emeritus professor of bacteriology, University of Bristol.
    http://www.timeshighereducatio.....ode=159282

    Again, sexual reproduction simply makes no sense under Darwinian presuppositions,

    Any other function besides highly efficient (asexual) reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, thinking, morally noble and/or altruistic behavior, etc… etc.. would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of highly efficient (asexual) reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ view of things, be discarded, and/or ‘eaten’, by the bacteria, as so much excess baggage since it would obviously slow down highly efficient (asexual) reproduction.

    Much slower sexual reproduction simply directly contradicts the ‘logic of natural selection’ that lies at the core of Darwin’s theory.

    Moreover, and secondly, although Darwinists claimed that they “have seen the great evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction in the genetic diversity produced in offspring”, the genetic diversity produced in offspring is now known to be, directly contrary to Darwinian presuppositions, ‘not randomly distributed between the parental chromosomes.”

    The article even states that, “The gene, as we imagined it, exists only in exceptional cases. “We need to fundamentally rethink the view of genes that every schoolchild has learned since Gregor Mendel’s time.,,,”

    Duality in the human genome – Nov. 28, 2014
    Excerpt: The results show that most genes can occur in many different forms within a population: On average, about 250 different forms of each gene exist. The researchers found around four million different gene forms just in the 400 or so genomes they analysed. This figure is certain to increase as more human genomes are examined. More than 85 percent of all genes have no predominant form which occurs in more than half of all individuals. This enormous diversity means that over half of all genes in an individual, around 9,000 of 17,500, occur uniquely in that one person – and are therefore individual in the truest sense of the word.
    The gene, as we imagined it, exists only in exceptional cases. “We need to fundamentally rethink the view of genes that every schoolchild has learned since Gregor Mendel’s time.,,,
    According to the researchers, mutations of genes are not randomly distributed between the parental chromosomes. They found that 60 percent of mutations affect the same chromosome set and 40 percent both sets. Scientists refer to these as cis and trans mutations, respectively. Evidently, an organism must have more cis mutations, where the second gene form remains intact. “It’s amazing how precisely the 60:40 ratio is maintained. It occurs in the genome of every individual – almost like a magic formula,” says Hoehe.
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....enome.html

    Something tells me that Darwinists will be the very last to ‘fundamentally rethink’ genes.

    The fact that mutations are found to be ‘not randomly distributed between the parental chromosomes” is, again, to directly contradict a primary presupposition of Darwinian evolution.

    Darwinian evolution, as a core presupposition, presupposes that completely random mutations are the primary source of every innovation:

    “It necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, and of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among many other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition – or the hope – that on this score our position is ever likely to be revised. There is no scientific concept, in any of the sciences, more destructive of anthropocentrism than this one.”
    Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology

    So to find that mutations are ‘not randomly distributed between the parental chromosomes” is, again, to directly contradict a primary presupposition of Darwinian evolution.

    So, although the article claimed that scientists “have seen the great evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction in the genetic diversity produced in offspring”, the fact of the matter is that sexual reproduction, in and of itself, directly contradicts the ‘logic of natural selection’, and moreover, the genetic diversity produced in offspring is now known to be, (directly contrary to core Darwinian presuppositions), ‘not randomly distributed between the parental chromosomes.”

    On top of that, the fact that it is some epigenetic factor that is producing the ‘non-random’ 60-40 split in the DNA of offspring is to directly contradict the ‘central dogma’ of neo-Darwinism where it is held that DNA runs the show,

    As Jonathan Wells noted, “I now know as an embryologist,,,Tissues and cells, as they differentiate, modify their DNA to suit their needs. It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.”

    Ask an Embryologist: Genomic Mosaicism – Jonathan Wells – February 23, 2015
    Excerpt: humans have a “few thousand” different cell types. Here is my simple question: Does the DNA sequence in one cell type differ from the sequence in another cell type in the same person?,,,
    The simple answer is: We now know that there is considerable variation in DNA sequences among tissues, and even among cells in the same tissue. It’s called genomic mosaicism.
    In the early days of developmental genetics, some people thought that parts of the embryo became different from each other because they acquired different pieces of the DNA from the fertilized egg. That theory was abandoned,,,
    ,,,(then) “genomic equivalence” — the idea that all the cells of an organism (with a few exceptions, such as cells of the immune system) contain the same DNA — became the accepted view.
    I taught genomic equivalence for many years. A few years ago, however, everything changed. With the development of more sophisticated techniques and the sampling of more tissues and cells, it became clear that genetic mosaicism is common.
    I now know as an embryologist,,,Tissues and cells, as they differentiate, modify their DNA to suit their needs. It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....93851.html

    Thus, sexual reproduction, (in and of itself), and the means by which the genetic diversity is ‘epigenetically’ produced in offspring, is found to falsify core Darwinian presuppositions.

    But alas, core Darwinian presuppositions being falsified time and time again by the empirical evidence is a fairly common occurrence, and yet Darwinists continually pretend as if none of it matters.

    Thus, contrary to the claims of Darwinists who adamantly hold Darwinism to be a ‘scientific theory’, whatever Darwinism may actually be, (I personally think it is a religion for atheists), it is certainly not a hard and testable science in any meaningful sense of being hard and testable.

    Of further note as to the fact that Darwinian evolution is not a hard and testable science

    Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – Robert J. Marks II – June 12, 2017
    Excerpt: There exists no (computer) model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Period. By “model,” we mean definitive simulations or foundational mathematics required of a hard science.,,,
    We show that no meaningful information can arise from an evolutionary process unless that process is guided. Even when guided, the degree of evolution’s accomplishment is limited by the expertise of the guiding information source — a limit we call Basener’s ceiling.,,,
    There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,
    ,,, there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  4. 4
    Hanks says:

    As Jonathan Wells noted, “I now know as an embryologist,,,Tissues and cells, as they differentiate, modify their DNA to suit their needs. It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.”

    Not “organism” but Central Nervous System(computing power+blueprint +informations received from every cell +order sended to every cell+feedback if cells do the orders or have problems to follow the schedule ), because have to be only ONE decision point, that schedule all the billions of cells to work at the right time ,do the right thing in consonance. To control a full organism you have to have-aside from the original blueprint of 1 cell(at conception ) and end point blueprint(9 months baby )-an incredible number of intermediate stages and all have their own blueprint and schedule.
    PS: If we think ,it’s a miracle bigger than any other miracle Jesus did while preaching the Kingdom of God.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    The funny part is that evolutionary biologists don’t have any idea how animals came to be. They don’t know of any naturalistic mechanism capable of producing animals starting from populations of prokaryotes.

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    Hanks – what about plants and fungi, which don’t have a nervous system, let alone a central nervous system?

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The existence of ancient asexual animal species like O. nova are difficult for evolutionary biologists to explain because asexual reproduction seems to be very disadvantageous in the long run.

    I don’t understand that and the reason they give seems like a circular tautology.
    First, why would asexual reproduction be disadvantageous in the long run? You don’t need two sexes. Each individual can reproduce without having to find a mate. In my view, it’s far more disadvantageous for evolution to 1. need to create two sexes. then 2. figure out how to mate them for reproduction purposes. All of that is avoided if all organisms just asexually reproduced from the very beginning. What benefit to survival and reproduction success does sexual reproduction provide?

    I would think they’d just give the answer. But instead, here’s why they think asexual reproduction does not work in the long run:

    Why else do almost all animal species reproduce purely sexually?

    Isn’t that the classic Darwinian response? Just assume that evolution found the best solution because it’s the most popular. Supposedly, asexual reproduction doesn’t work. Why? Because, just look around – almost all animals reproduce sexually. So, why else would they do that?

  8. 8
    Bob O'H says:

    SA – what you’re describing is where we were a few decades ago. But some mathematical modelling gave us a nice resolution. In essence (and with apologies for any teleological language), in a changing environment the combination of “good” genes will vary, so having a way of shuffling them around is advantageous in the long run. BUT this argument only holds if the population size is small: if it’s large enough, there is enough standing variation that the fitness gain from sex isn’t large enough to overcome the cost.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Funny sort of mathematical modelling that Darwinists do that does not accurately reflect reality.

    Others might more appropriately describe what Darwinists are actually doing with their mathematical modelling as, “living in a mathematical fantasy land’.

    Defending the validity and significance of the new theorem “Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection With Mutations, Part I: Fisher’s Impact – Bill Basener and John Sanford – February 15, 2018
    Excerpt: While Fisher’s Theorem is mathematically correct, his Corollary is false. The simple logical fallacy is that Fisher stated that mutations could effectively be treated as not impacting fitness, while it is now known that the vast majority of mutations are deleterious, providing a downward pressure on fitness. Our model and our correction of Fisher’s theorem (The Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection with Mutations), take into account the tension between the upward force of selection with the downward force of mutations.,,,
    Our paper shows that Fisher’s corollary is clearly false, and that he misunderstood the implications of his own theorem. He incorrectly believed that his theorem was a mathematical proof that showed that natural selection plus mutation will necessarily and always increase fitness. He also believed his theorem was on a par with a natural law (such as entropic dissipation and the second law of thermodynamics). Because Fisher did not understand the actual fitness distribution of new mutations, his belief in the application of his “fundamental theorem of natural selection” was fundamentally and profoundly wrong – having little correspondence to biological reality. Therefore, we have reformulated Fisher’s model and have corrected his errors, thereby have established a new theorem that better describes biological reality, and allows for the specification of those key variables that will determine whether fitness will increase or decrease.
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....rs-impact/

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    in a changing environment the combination of “good” genes will vary, so having a way of shuffling them around is advantageous in the long run

    I would need to take a look at that model and its assumptions, but just in general terms – increasing the opportunity to shuffle genes around also increases the space for errors and makes the process far more complex, thus making it more difficult for good genes to exist. The mathematical model needs to show that a huge increase in complexity (which seems huge given the need for two different sexes, then a reproductive process between those two with shared components) is overcome and exceeded by advantages for good genes to be fixed in the population.
    Again, in general terms that seems very hard to imagine – it’s counter-intuitive, that’s for sure.
    The general rule since Darwin’s time remains true today: The simpler the organism and the process, the better it is for evolution. Complexity adds cost – and it doesn’t make sense for evolution to prefer complexity when simpler organisms already thrive in all environments.
    Survival and reproductive advantage are not that difficult a goal to achieve (given living organisms). It’s not like organisms are actually trying to achieve some complicated goals. They’re trying to eat and reproduce. Very little complexity is required for that task (beyond the mind-boggling complexity of life itself, which makes no sense in a materialist view).
    This is really at the heart of the evolutionary claim.
    Yes, somebody has to figure out a reason why bacteria needed to become human beings – a virtually infinite increase in complexity (in my view, an actual infinite) all to achieve exactly the same goals: eat and reproduce successfully.
    Other organisms have managed to handle that goal fairly easily – with stasis for hundreds of millions of years.
    You mention that it’s been some decades since, at least, some mathematics attempt to show a supposed benefit to complexity. Before that, evolutionists were just bluffing us. I’ll suspect the same is true now, even with the mathematical models.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    from BA77’s post

    the vast majority of mutations are deleterious

    As stated in the quoted text – this seems to be another huge area that is not explored significantly.
    If organisms did not have repair mechanisms, deleterious mutations would wipe out all life on earth.
    However, those repair mechanisms do not distinguish between “good” or “bad” mutations. They block all of them and attempt to preserve the organism in stasis.
    So, how does evolutionary modelling account for that? How many potentially positive mutations are blocked by cellular repair mechanisms? 50%? 90%?

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