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Data from: Aging asexual lineages and the evolutionary maintenance of sex

Cite this dataset

Ho, Eddie Ka Ho; Agrawal, Aneil F. (2017). Data from: Aging asexual lineages and the evolutionary maintenance of sex [Dataset]. Dryad.


Finite populations of asexual and highly selfing species suffer from a reduced efficacy of selection. Such populations are thought to decline in fitness over time due to accumulating slightly deleterious mutations or failing to adapt to changing conditions. These within-population processes that lead non-recombining species to extinction may help maintain sex and outcrossing through species level selection. Although inefficient selection is proposed to elevate extinction rates over time, previous models of species selection for sex assumed constant diversification rates. For sex to persist, classic models require that asexual species diversify at rates lower than sexual species; the validity of this requirement is questionable, both conceptually and empirically. We extend past models by allowing asexual lineages to decline in diversification rates as they age, i.e., non-recombining lineages “senesce” in diversification rates. At equilibrium, senescing diversification rates maintain sex even when asexual lineages, at young ages, diversify faster than their sexual progenitors. In such cases, the age distribution of asexual lineages contains a peak at intermediate values rather than showing the exponential decline predicted by the classic model. Coexistence requires only that the average rate of diversification in asexuals be lower than that of sexuals.

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