Bdelloid rotifers survived over 30 million years, without sex
It has been forwarded by two researchers at Cornell University in the US that tiny, primitive leech-like animals found in mud and water have kept their species alive for over 30 million years without sex. This has solved a long-standing mystery of biology.
The research, published in the US journal Science, has made it clear that the invertebrate animals called bdelloid rotifers, which are asexual creatures, have survived till so long just by the process of cloning. The research also talks about proof for a hypothesis to explain why sex is near-ubiquitous among virtually all known organisms.
As per the history of biology, asexual animals become extinct relatively quickly. If seen the animals of the world, there are less than 1% which are asexual; however all are young on the tree of evolution, except for rotifers.
In the past, scientists have hypothesized that parasites and microbes wipe out the asexual organisms; however sex permits organisms shuffle genes and over time evolve resistance to microbes. But it is astonishing to know that apart from surviving without sex for 30 to
50 million years, bdelloid rotifers have even proliferated into 460 different species.
The latest research by Cornell scientists Paul Sherman and Chris Wilson has cleared that bdelloid rotifers can survive complete drying, fly in the wind, and settle on the ground far away, ready to be awakened on contact with water.
Sherman, professor of neurobiology and behavior, "These animals have survived by staying ahead of their enemies demographically, colonising parasite-free habitat patches, reproducing and departing before they're attacked and destroyed."
Sherman continued that these organisms play an unending evolutionary game of hide-and-seek.
The study informs that the bdelloid rotifers are more tolerant to high drying and long flights in the wind than their fungal parasites.