The origin of two sexes through optimization of recombination entropy against time and energy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sexual reproduction in nature requires two sexes, which raises the question why the reproductive scheme did not evolve to have three or more sexes. Here we construct a constrained optimization model based on the communication theory to analyze trade-offs among reproductive schemes with arbitrary number of sexes. More sexes on one hand lead to higher reproductive diversity, but on the other hand incur greater cost in time and energy for reproductive success. Our model shows that the two-sexes reproduction scheme maximizes the recombination entropy-to-cost ratio, and hence is the optimal solution to the problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2105-2114
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2007



  • 1:1 sex ratio
  • Asexual reproduction
  • Chromosomal crossover
  • Communication model of DNA replication
  • Constrained optimization
  • Evolutionarilly stable strategy
  • Information entropy
  • Meiosis
  • Mitosis
  • Reproductive cost
  • Sexual reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

Cite this