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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex#Evolution

Sexual reproduction first appeared about a billion years ago, evolved within ancestral single-celled eukaryotes.

Sexual reproduction first appeared about a billion years ago, evolved within ancestral single-celled eukaryotes. The reason for the initial evolution of sex, and the reason it has survived to the present, are still matters of debate. Some of the many plausible theories include: that sex creates variation among offspring, sex helps in the spread of advantageous traits, and that sex helps in the removal of disadvantageous traits.

Sexual reproduction is a process specific to eukaryotes, organisms whose cells contain a nucleus and mitochondria. In addition to animals, plants, and fungi, other eukaryotes (eg. the malaria parasite) also engage in sexual reproduction. Some bacteria use conjugation to transfer genetic material between bacteria; while not the same as sexual reproduction, this also results in the mixture of genetic traits.

What is considered defining of sexual reproduction is the difference between the gametes and the binary nature of fertilization. Multiplicity of gamete types within a species would still be considered a form of sexual reproduction. However, no third gamete is known in multicellular animals.



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Last updated: October 14, 2010