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And this means that scale insects can be father, mother, grandfather family tree.Scale insects are small animals that suck on plant sap for a living.There is a final twist to this tale: Gardner and Ross think that the scale insects carry a passenger that could have quickened the demise of the males – a bacterium.

But that’s not the case for the cottony cushion scale.

In fact, if the harms were high enough, the infectious tissue would probably have evolved to suppress itself – its genes would have had a higher chance of reaching the next generation if it let the daughter get on with things herself and mate with a true male. The infectious tissue would have become more common, and inflicted less harm upon the females.

Eventually, daughters would actually benefit from being fertilised by dad’s sperm.

He envisioned a time when males and females were separate entities.

When males gained the ability to infect their daughters with “parasitic” sperm, they could fertilise the eggs of multiple generations.

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