Field of Science

Chalk talk!

Alex Kondrashov gave a dynamic chalk talk yesterday, making the point that conventional population genetics approaches to the evolution of sex were probably a dead end - sex can't be selected for under the usual assumptions.

I was inspired by this (also by the lovely long blackboard and the availability of coloured chalk) so I did my talk this afternoon as a chalk talk too.  I started by pointing out that, because meiotic sex evolved once early in eukaryotes, any acceptable explanation must solve a problem experienced by diploids and haploids, uni- and multicellular organisms, and obligately and facultively sexual organisms.  This constraint rules out many of the explanations and examples proposed at this meeting.  Then I said that, because bacteria don't have sex (don't have any process evolved to cause recombination of chromosomal genes), any acceptable explanation of meiotic sex must also solve a problem that bacteria don't have.  Then I went over the evidence that bacteria indeed don't have sex.  I was in an adrenalin fog and so have no idea how much over my allocated 20 minutes I went, or whether I ever looked at the audience.  But Matt Meselson thinks I'm right!

1 comment:

  1. I don't think you went over time, nor was the audience lost. I enjoyed your talk very much, as did all of the people I spoke to!


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