Journal Paper of the Day

Michael R. Kearney, “No Sex Please, We’re Clonal”, in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 24, No. 9, September 2009, pp. 478–479.

Sexual reproduction is a strange and complicated procedure and life would be much simpler without it. There would be no division of individuals into somatic and gametic cell lineages, or of populations into genders with conflicting interests; neither would populations be genomically united as a species through the intricate processes of meiosis and fertilization. Yet, so accustomed are we to genetic mixing and associated phenomena, such as courtship and peacock tails, that, when confronted with the much simpler idea of clonally derived organisms, our usual reaction is astonishment. The successful production of Dolly the sheep through the cloning of a somatic cell from her mother1 made global headlines and captured the imagination of scientists and laypersons alike. What kind of world would it be if we were to give up sex and opt for the clonal life?

(For another answer, see Les Particules élémentaires).

  1. I. Wilmut, A. E. Schnieke, J. McWhir, A. J. Kind and K. H. S. Campbell, “Viable Offspring Derived from Fetal and Adult Mammalian Cells”, in Nature, Vol. 385, 27 February 1997, pp. 810–813.