Tiny, Transparent Worm Challenges Notions About Sex

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Abstinence may have found its most impressive poster child yet: Diploscapter pachys . The tiny worm is transparent, smaller than a poppy seed and hasn't had sex in 18 million years. It's basically just been cloning itself this whole time. Usually, that's a solid strategy for going extinct, fast. What's its secret? "Scientists have been trying to understand how some animals can survive for millions of years without sex, because such strict, long-term abstinence is very rare in the animal world," says David Fitch , a biologist at New York University. Most plants and animals use sex to reproduce. As he and his colleagues report in the recent issue of Current Biology , this seemingly unimpressive roundworm seems to have developed a different way of copying...

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