Deleterious mutations and the evolution of sexual reproduction

Nature. 1988 Dec 1;336(6198):435-40. doi: 10.1038/336435a0.


The origin and maintenance of sexual reproduction continues to be an important problem in evolutionary biology. If the deleterious mutation rate per genome per generation is greater than 1, then the greater efficiency of selection against these mutations in sexual populations may be responsible for the evolution of sex and related phenomena. In modern human populations detrimental mutations with small individual effects are probably accumulating faster than they are being eliminated by selection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Female
  • Genetics
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation*
  • Reproduction*
  • Selection, Genetic