We review the phenomenon of condition-dependent sex—where individuals' condition affects the likelihood that they will reproduce sexually rather than asexually. In recent years, condition-dependent sex has been studied both theoretically and empirically. Empirical results in microbes, fungi and plants support the theoretical prediction that negative condition-dependent sex, in which individuals in poor condition are more likely to reproduce sexually, can be evolutionarily advantageous under a wide range of settings. Here, we review the evidence for condition-dependent sex and its potential implications for the long-term survival and adaptability of populations. We conclude by asking why condition-dependent sex is not more commonly observed, and by considering generalizations of condition-dependent sex that might apply even for obligate sexuals.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Weird sex: the underappreciated diversity of sexual reproduction’.
One contribution of 15 to a theme issue ‘Weird sex: the underappreciated diversity of sexual reproduction’.
- Accepted July 28, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.