ICCS2004 Application Submission/Review

Abstract for
"Coupling sexual reproduction and complex multicellularity"

Understanding why multicellular organisms reproduce predominantly by sexual means has remained a major problem in evolutionary theory. A related question is the evolutionary origin of germ cell dimorphism, oogamy being the most extreme example. By using the concept of facultative (optional) sexuality and the simple dualism of cellular reproduction versus functional cell differentiation, it became possible to combine multicellularity, sexual reproduction, and oogamy in a novel way. The result is a network model in which developmental and evolutionary information merge. The model provides a formal framework for logical integration of theory and experimetal data regarding both evolutionary and developmental biology of complex multicellularity.