Fall 2017, Vol. 23, No. 4, Pages 481-492
This article suggests that the fundamental haploid-diploid cycle of eukaryotic sex exploits a rudimentary form of the Baldwin effect. With this explanation for the basic cycle, the other associated phenomena can be explained as evolution tuning the amount and frequency of learning experienced by an organism. Using the well-known NK model of fitness landscapes, it is shown that varying landscape ruggedness varies the benefit of the haploid-diploid cycle, whether based upon endomitosis or syngamy. The utility of pre-meiotic doubling and recombination during the cycle are also shown to vary with landscape ruggedness. This view is suggested as underpinning, rather than contradicting, many existing explanations for sex.