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Lesson summary for:
Why Sex is Good


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This case study is based on a 2005 journal article that deals with the issue of sexual vs. asexual reproduction and their relative merits—a question that has bedeviled biologists for more than a century. The article serves as the final stage of this case focusing on why sex is useful (at least in some circumstances).

Herreid, Clyde Freeman

Grade level:

portions of several class periods

Teaching tips:
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topics of meiosis and animal reproduction (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus). The case study includes extensive teaching tips. You may use it in class in its entirety or may choose to assign one part as homework. Cited references in the case provide opportunities for extensions that include the primary literature. It is written for a general biology class, but would also be appropriate for use in an evolution or ecology course.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction.

  • An individual’s fitness (or relative fitness) is the contribution that individual makes to the gene pool of the next generation relative to other individuals in the population.

  • Authentic scientific controversy and debate within the community contribute to scientific progress.

Teacher background:

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