Sex is good for you - or at least that's the conclusion of new research published in the journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution.

The study looked at the evening primrose, a flower where around 30 per cent of the species has evolved to reproduce asexually - or clone themselves - while the others reproduce sexually.

Looking at the difference between the two types of reproduction in the flower, the researchers found asexual reproduction led to more harmful mutations being accumulated over time than when species reproduce sexually and separate their genes.

"This is the first solid genetic support for the theory that a significant cost to being asexual is an accumulation of deleterious mutations," Professor Marc Johnson, one of the authors of the research says. "This study has allowed us to unlock part of the mystery of why sex is so common: it's good for your health, at least if you are a plant."

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