What a pleasant surprise! While it is perfectly possible to derive teeny gobs of undiluted pleasure from an [Egorati]1 search, how much nicer to be exploring something of genuine interest and come across a cross reference. I wandered over from the most recent Tangled Bank to Dan Jones’ Proper Study of Mankind to read his “long but interesting” essay about why sex is so ubiquitous. And there I am, with my old mucker John Gribbin, quoted (and damned with faint praise?) for my description of the twofold cost of sex.

Nice to know that something written way back in the early 80s is still worth reading (and quoting). And I well remember that when we started the book, we had no idea what the answer would be. The excitement of being at a Dahlem Conference when Bill Hamilton first outlined the notion that sex was a solution to pathogens and parasites made me rush home and tell John that we had an ending. I remember too making the Dahlemettes find me a copy of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” so that I could share with the assembled braniacs the ending, when germs do for the Martians.

It was exciting, that’s for sure, and led to my moment of glory on Donahue, though looking back we probably didn’t make as much of the book and the ideas as we should have.

As for the new Nature paper -- Sexual reproduction selects for robustness and negative epistasis in artificial gene networks -- it is going to take a little longer for me to digest that. But I’ll be helped by Ricardo Azevedo, one of the authors, over on his blog.

  1. 2022-03-15: A search for one’s own name at Technorati of blessed memory. 

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