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Recombination supplies two fault-tolerance mechanisms at the molecular level: recombinational DNA repair (promoted during meiosis because homologous chromosomes pair at that time) and complementation (also known as heterosis, hybrid vigor or masking of mutations).Sexual reproduction has probably contributed to the evolution of sexual dimorphism Modern philosophical-scientific thinking on the problem can be traced back to Erasmus Darwin in the 18th century; it also features in Aristotle's writings.The thread was later picked up by August Weismann in 1889, who argued that the purpose of sex was to generate genetic variation, as is detailed in the majority of the explanations below. Michod to explain how sexual reproduction is maintained in a vast array of different living organisms.

genesis of the two sexes." This is consistent with the repair and complementation hypothesis, given below under "Other explanations." Several explanations have been suggested by biologists including W. If each individual were to contribute to the same number of offspring (two), (a) the sexual population remains the same size each generation, where the (b) asexual population doubles in size each generation.

In most multicellular sexual species, the population consists of two sexes, only one of which is capable of bearing young (with the exception of simultaneous hermaphrodites).

In an asexual species, each member of the population is capable of bearing young.

This implies that an asexual population has an intrinsic capacity to grow more rapidly with each generation.

The cost was first described in mathematical terms by John Maynard Smith.

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