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Arts & Sciences

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Goodenough, U. (2007). The emergence of sex. Zygon, 42(4), 857-872. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2007.00877.x


Biological traits, the foci of natural selection, are by definition emergent from the genes, proteins, and other “nothing-buts” that constitute them. Moreover, and with the exception of recently emergent “spandrels,” each can be accorded a teleological dimension—each is “for” some purpose conducive to an organism's continuation. Sex, which is “for” the generation of recombinant genomes, may be one of the most ancient and ubiquitous traits in biology. In the course of its evolution, many additional traits, such as gender and nurture, have emerged. Patterns of sexual exchange are the basis for patterns of biological evolution and are central to the process of eukaryotic speciation. Human sexuality is central to our selves.


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Goodenough, U. (2007). The emergence of sex. Zygon, 42(4), 857-872, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.