Daniel S. Fisher
Professor, Department Applied Physics
How much sex is enough?
Various largely qualitative arguments have been put forward for the evolutionary benefits of sex, but little is understood about the evolutionary dynamics of large populations with abundant selection and how sex affects these. Some of the general questions, emphasizing their dynamical and quantitative character, will be discussed, along with theoretical analysis of some seemingly simple aspects of asexual and sexual evolution and the potential for probing these with microbial evolution experiments. Recent deep DNA sequencing data on the fine scale structure of a natural microbial population that show surprising evidence for the extent of bacterial sex will be described briefly.