I told You I could Do This Myself: The worm that hasn't had sex in 18 million years


Written by: Clare-Anne Canfield  

Published on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at 7:39 am EST

Written by: Clare-Anne Canfield

Published:   


So, Diploscapter pachys, a tiny worm found in soil decided about 18 million years ago that sex was fun and all, but it was absolutely too much work and who can really argue that? 
Picture credit: David Fitch

This little species of roundworm reproduces solely by cloning itself. A life of abstinence wasn't always how this worm would roll, you see there was a time that D. pachys reproduced sexually, but that was around 18 million years ago. 

Is this very important? Well, if you're like me then you learned that genetics is pretty darned important for survival. Sex allows species to mix up their genetics and hopefully make offspring that adapt well to their surroundings without accumulating an enormous amount of mutations that result in extinction.

Picture credit: Karin Kiontke and David Fitch