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, 264 (1), 24-36

Cooperation and the Evolution of Anisogamy


Cooperation and the Evolution of Anisogamy

Jiang-Nan Yang. J Theor Biol.


In the lights of the concept of cooperation wholes, I discuss why the differentiation of sperm and ova can occur with a mathematical model. Most of Parker's explanations for anisogamy are not completely proper, because it is proved that sperm competition is neither sufficient nor necessary for anisogamy and cooperation to deal with fertilization risks is the real key to understand the evolution of anisogamy. According to the computer simulation results, the transport of gametes between different individuals, risks of the transport, the consequent inequality of sperm and eggs and competition among different individuals were the main causes of gamete differentiation. But these factors have different roles and effects. The transport risk is the main reason for individuals of different mating types to cooperate and differentiate into sperm and egg producers. The transported gametes have an advantage to evolve into sperm to seek for a larger gamete number over the fixed gametes, because they suffer more risks as they can encounter the same fixed gamete and less sibling competition as they can be dispersed better. Gamete competition among different individuals just causes the transported gametes to become as small as possible if they have already become smaller beyond a critical state. In the final discussion, I further put the evolution of anisogamy into a broader background of levels of selection and of the evolution of cooperation, the most important existential mode of matters that makes life as life.

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