Millenniums of survival with no mating proved as possible, according to scientists
Researchers seem to have finally found a viable explanation to bdelloids' mysterious reproductive mechanism.The small, curious creatures had been perfectly able to assure their species' survival for over 80 million years without ever mating, Live Science reports.
A study conducted by Alan Tunnacliffe, professor at the University of Cambridge, reveals that bdelloids' survival was made possible by their bodies’ ability to extract active genes out of foreign DNA.
It has been shown that about 10 percent of their genes are taken from small organisms like bacteria, fungi or algae.
“We don't know how the gene transfer occurs, but it almost certainly involves ingesting DNA in organic debris, which their environments are full of,” Prof. Tunnacliffe declared. “Bdelloids will eat anything smaller than their heads!”
Most of the beings that follow an asexual way of reproducing risk to eventually disappear, as a consequence of the genetic uniformity. However, so far bdelloids seem to be in no danger.