Queen's University Queen's Home Biology Dept Biology Courses
Bio 210 Biology of Sex
Bio 210 Home > Lectures > Tutorials > Marking Scheme > Further Readings > Contacts > DSC >

Why sex? Why would organisms capable of reproducing independently, as females, evolve a second sex that is incapable of reproduction on its own? Over 6 decades of theory and research has failed to completely resolve this question. Because sex has very ancient roots and many potential evolutionary motivators we will never have a simple answer. Rather, the lure of this queen of questions in Biology is its reticulate nature and its colourful consequences, the 'how' and 'when' sorts of questions.

No single phenomenon is the source of more, and more varied, problems for study than sex. Nor more controversies. Why does a redback spider eat her mate? Does he let her? Why is a fruit fly male's sperm as much as 2,000 times longer than a human's? Why does an elephant seal bull outweigh an elephant seal cow by three times? Is female orgasm adaptive?

Many of the most interesting things about sex are the absurdities it fosters. In Biology 210 we will explore many of these colourful oddities along with the general properties of sexual systems from an evolutionary perspective.  (read more...)

- Adam Chippindale


no textbooks
There is no textbook for BIOL 210. A number of supplemental readings may be provided via the website, and there are a number of interesting books you may wish to read throughout the semester. Tim Birkhead's "Promiscuity" is particularly relevant.
bulletin board (Fall 2011)

  • View past Biology 210 midterms

  • Tutorial sessions begin the week of September 26th

useful links



content updated for Fall 2011
web site maintained by Adam Chippindale;