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Our Expert Voices conversation on why sex exists.

In a constant environment, asexuality is the most efficient and reliable form of reproduction, as it directly copies the genomes of parents who survive to reproduce. Asexuality also avoids the many costs of finding and attracting a mate, not to mention sexually transmitted diseases. If the world were constant, organisms would likely be asexual.

The world is, however, ever-changing. Species must continually adapt in the face of environmental shifts, fires and other catastrophes, as well as constantly evolving parasites, prey, and predators.

Asexual populations are very much limited in their evolutionary potential by the genomes currently present within a population, while sexual populations can evolve much further by mixing and matching genes initially present in different individuals. Sexual reproduction shuffles genetic variants throughout the entire genome, providing an almost limitless variety for evolution to act upon, even with a limited number of individuals within a species. Models of this combinatoric problem have indeed found that genes increasing the amount of sex can spread.

The bottom line: In our changing world, more sexual individuals leave descendants with a greater variety of genomes, the best of which is most likely to survive, spreading the genes that make sex so common.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.

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