Study shows reproductive benefits to life on earth

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COURTSHIP rituals can be all-consuming and demand time and effort, but now scientists have discovered why it might be worth it.

Attracting a mate, such as in a peacock’s show of feathers, can produce benefits for a species in the long term, a study has suggested.

Scientists at Edinburgh University have shown that animals and plants which reproduce sexually have a considerable advantage over species, including some insects and reptiles, that reproduce without a partner.

Researchers studied sexual reproduction in tiny fruit flies to learn more about how DNA is randomly shuffled when the genes of two parents combine to create a new individual.

They found that this combination of genetic material allows for damaging elements of DNA, which may cause disease or other drawbacks, to be weeded out within a few generations, while those with healthy genes tend to flourish.