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The evolution of sex through the Baldwin effect

Bull, Larry


Lawrence Bull
AHOD Research and Scholarship and Prof


This paper suggests that the fundamental haploid-diploid cycle of eukaryotic sex exploits a rudimentary form of the Baldwin effect. With this explanation for the basic cycle, the other associated phenomena can be explained as evolution tuning the amount and frequency of learning experienced by an organism. Using the well-known NK model of fitness landscapes it is shown that varying landscape ruggedness varies the benefit of the haploid-diploid cycle, whether based upon endomitosis or syngamy. The utility of mechanisms such as pre-meiotic doubling and recombination during the cycle are also shown to vary with landscape ruggedness. This view is suggested as underpinning, rather than contradicting, many existing explanations for sex.


Bull, L. (2017). The evolution of sex through the Baldwin effect. Artificial Life, 23(4), 481-492.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 18, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Journal Artificial Life
Print ISSN 1064-5462
Electronic ISSN 1530-9185
Publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 481-492
Keywords Endomitosis, haploid-diploid cycle, meiosis, NK model, recombination
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted version of an article forthcoming in Artificial Life


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