Selective advantage for sexual reproduction with random haploid fusion

Emmanuel Tannenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article develops a simplified set of models describing asexual and sexual replication in unicellular diploid organisms. The models assume organisms whose genomes consist of two chromosomes, where each chromosome is assumed to be functional if it is equal to some master sequence σ0, and non-functional otherwise. We review the previously studied case of selective mating, where it is assumed that only haploids with functional chromosomes can fuse, and also consider the case of random haploid fusion. When the cost for sex is small, as measured by the ratio of the characteristic haploid fusion time to the characteristic growth time, we find that sexual replication with random haploid fusion leads to a greater mean fitness for the population than a purely asexual strategy. However, independently of the cost for sex, we find that sexual replication with a selective mating strategy leads to a higher mean fitness than the random mating strategy. The results of this article are consistent with previous studies suggesting that sex is favored at intermediate mutation rates, for slowly replicating organisms, and at high population densities. Furthermore, the results of this article provide a basis for understanding sex as a stress response in unicellular organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Baker's yeast).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalTheory in Biosciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Diploid
  • Haploid
  • Quasispecies
  • Random mating
  • Recombination
  • Selective mating
  • Sexual reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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