Royal Society Publishing

Ecological stress and sex evolution in soil microfungi

Isabella Grishkan, Abraham B. Korol, Eviatar Nevo, Solomon P. Wasser

Abstract

The elucidation of the origin and maintenance of sex is a major unsolved problem in evolutionary biology. A number of hypotheses have been elaborated, but the scarcity of empirical data limits further progress. During recent years, the general inclination has changed towards pluralistic models of sex evolution, due partly to an increased diversity of studied organisms. Fungi are among the most promising organisms for testing sexual causation, as demonstrated in recent laboratory experiments. However, reconciling theory and evidence necessitates critical field observations. Here, we report new estimates of the distribution of morphologically sexual and asexual soil microfungi in nature, which indicate a remarkable trend towards increased sexuality with increasing climatic stress.

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