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Sex and Genetic Shuffling

Sex can introduce new gene combinations into a population and is an important source of genetic variation.

Shuffling of gene combinations
 

You probably know from experience that siblings are not genetically identical to their parents or to each other (except, of course, for identical twins). That’s because when organisms reproduce sexually, some genetic “shuffling” occurs, bringing together new combinations of genes. For example, you might have bushy eyebrows and a big nose since your mom had genes associated with bushy eyebrows and your dad had genes associated with a big nose. These combinations can be good, bad, or neutral. If your spouse is wild about the bushy eyebrows/big nose combination, you were lucky and hit on a winning combination!

This shuffling is important for evolution because it can introduce new combinations of genes every generation. However, it can also break up “good” combinations of genes.

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Sex and genetic shuffling: details

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Lesson plans for teaching about recombination

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Spanish translation of Understanding Evolution For Teachers from the Spanish Society of Evolutionary Biology.