The world of small, slender roundworms is the embodiment of "this is the future that liberals want" – as prophesied by someone like Jordan Peterson. It’s not that the species Mesorhabditis belari doesn’t need males. According to a new study, they definitely do. It’s just that the female worms actively exploit men. And they do they know their sons can have sex with their daughters.
So why are M. belari such male-hating misandrists? They've figured out, over thousands of years, that it's just the best way for their species to survive. In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, a team of French researchers explains how it all works.
Scientists known since 1949 that these worms don’t reproduce through straightforward sexual reproduction. Instead, they have observed that the worms use an asexual reproductive strategy called pseudogamy: Females use the sperm of males – and only the sperm – to activate their eggs. No genetic material is passed on from the evil, and the resulting embryo develops into a female clone of its mother.
I know in short, these worms may need males, but they sure don’t seem to want them.
However, in 9 percent of worms births, the embryo was produced when the sperm genetic material was used after fertilization. Importantly, bad DNA is only ever transmitted to sons.
That means that M. belari only produces males for strictly reproductive purposes. That tiny 9 percent figures, meanwhile, is an extremely important number for the worms because it means that male genes never re-enter the female gene pool. There are, for example, lots of young male worms who can go out and do their wild oats.
Instead, the scientists determined, they stay at home and share their sperm with their sisters.
"From the viewpoint of the genes of M. belari females; they write. "The reproductive system of M. belari represents a distinctive state, where asexual females systematically produce few sexual males, and male genes never reenter the gene pool. "
Nine percent of males, they explain, is a "stable evolutionary strategy" – it 's enough to ensure that a maximum of females are produced, without putting too much effort into the production of males. It’s a “novel reproduction strategy” when we look at it through a human lens, but to these worms, it’s just the obvious way to live.
We report the reproductive strategy of the nematode Mesorhabditis belari. This species produces only 9% males, whose sperm is necessary to fertilize and activate the eggs. However, most of the fertilized eggs develop without using the sperm DNA and produce female individuals. Only in 9% of eggs is the evil DNA utilized, producing sons. We have been working on the parental genomes because of the Y-bearing sperm of males are much more competent than the X-bearing sperm for penetrating the eggs. In this previously unrecognized strategy, asexual females produce few sexual males whose genes never reenter the female pool. Here, production of males is only interested in their sisters. Using game theory, we show that in this context, the production of 9% males by M. belari females is an evolutionary stable strategy.