Spring 2015

Why Sex?

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-106

Formerly listed as: BIOL-06

Moodle site: Course


Jill S. Miller (Section 01)


Perhaps no subject in biology is as troublesome (or as fraught with contradictions) as sex. Why should organisms devote so much of their time and energy to attracting mates, when they can reproduce much more efficiently by cloning themselves? Similarly, why not pass on all your genes, rather than just half? Darwin was among the first to realize that competition for mates is sometimes as important as competition for survival. Sex is an exceedingly powerful ecological and evolutionary force, responsible for generating a tremendous diversity of morphologies and behaviors. In this course, we will draw upon examples from microbes to mosses to mammals in order to address these most basic biological questions: Why did sex evolve and what are its consequences? Three hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week.

Limited to 30 students. This course is for non-majors. Students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, or Psychology will be admitted only with permission from the instructor.  Spring semester. Professor Miller.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to non-science majors, upperclassmen, and those who have not had previous courses in biology.


Science & Math for Non-majors


2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015