Asexual Reproduction – Definition, Characteristics, Types, Examples
Asexual reproduction is a type of reproduction in which a single parent cell is involved in making a new offspring. Any kind of sexual gametic fusion between male and female gamete is not involved, and the number of chromosomes remains the same as the mother cell. Asexual reproduction is observed in both multicellular and unicellular organisms. Example: Plants, bacteria, fungi.
What is Asexual Reproduction?
Asexual reproduction is a type of reproduction where an organism can produce offspring without the involvement of a mate or another organism. In asexual reproduction, the offspring are genetically identical to the parent, as there is no exchange of genetic material between individuals. Asexual reproduction is normally seen in unicellular organisms. Only a single parent is divided into 2 clone cells known as daughter cells.
Characteristics of Asexual Reproduction in Animals
- No gamete production or fertilization.
- A single parent is involved, i.e. mother cell.
- It takes comparatively less time than sexual reproduction.
- No variety, the children generated are the replicas/clones of the parent.
- Offspring develops at a very high rate.
Asexual Reproduction Examples
In different ways, asexual reproduction can occur. Fission, fragmentation, and budding are seen in microorganisms like amoeba, hydra, and worms. Vegetative propagation and spore development are observed in plants, algae, and fungi.
In Binary Fission, a parent cell splits into two or more individuals of almost equal size which are identical to the mother cell each of them having a nucleus and equal genetic material. Examples are bacteria, archaebacteria, unicellular eukaryotes like protists, and some fungi.
In Fragmentation, the body is divided into many fragments, which eventually evolve into whole creatures. Examples: Planaria, Worms, Fungi, Plants, and Starfish.
In budding, a bud-like outgrowth develops on the parent body, which is similar to the parent organism. Organisms reproduce by splitting off new individuals from existing ones through budding and resulting in genetically identical parent and daughter organisms. The bud may remain linked, or it may break loose through the parent. Budding generally occurs in eukaryotic species such as single-celled yeast and multicellular Hydra.
In plants, Asexual reproduction occurs through their vegetative parts such as leaves, roots, stems, and buds, this type of reproduction is called vegetative propagation. For example, runners/stolon, potato tubers, onion bulbs, etc. shows vegetative propagation.
Spore formation is one of the types of asexual reproduction in plants. In harsh or unfavorable conditions, the organism develops ball-like sac structures called sporangium that contain spores. In favorable conditions, the sporangium burst open (air/water), and spores are released into the surrounding that germinates to give rise to the new organisms. Example fungus-like Bread Mould.
Advantages of Asexual Reproduction
The following are the advantages of asexual reproduction:
- Mates/Partners are not required.
- The reproduction process is fast.
- Numerous organisms can be produced in a short time.
- Positive genetic influences are passed on to successive generations.
- It occurs in all kinds of environments.
Disadvantages of Asexual Reproduction
The major disadvantages of asexual reproduction are:
- As the offspring are genetically identical to their parent, the diseases or nutrient deficiency is passed on to the next generation.
- The diversity among the organisms is limited as only one organism is involved.
- Offspring are unable to adapt to new environments.
- A single change in the environment would result in the elimination of the entire species.
Examples of Asexual Reproduction
- Bacterium shows binary fission.
- In starfish, worms reproduce through the fragmentation method.
- Hydras reproduce via budding.
- Sugarcane is cultivated using the vegetative propagation method.
- Succulent plants are grown and re-grown using the plant part, which is the form of vegetative reproduction.
- Through vegetative propagation, Sugarcane can be grown.
FAQs on Asexual Reproduction
Q1: What are the advantages of Asexual Reproduction?
Some of the advantages of asexual reproduction are:
- Organisms grew exponentially.
- No mates required
- Less chance of variation
- These organisms reproduce in every environment.
Q2: What is asexual reproduction?
Asexual reproduction is a type of reproduction in which a single parent cell is involved in making a new offspring. Any kind of sexual gametic fusion between male and female gamete is not involved, and the number of chromosomes remains the same as the mother cell.
Q3: When do plants prefer asexual reproduction in place of sexual reproduction?
When plants suffer extreme harsh environments like drought, climate change, and loss of natural pollinators like insects, and bugs they prefer an asexual mode of reproduction.
Q4: Difference between sexual and asexual reproduction?
Occurs in prokaryotic microorganisms and
in some eukaryotic organisms.
Occurs in multicellular organisms. It involves single parents i.e. Mother cell It involves both male and female cells No formation of gametes.
Formation of gametes.
Somatic cells of parents are involved.
Germ cells of parents are involved.
No fertilization occurs. Fertilization is observed.
No involvement of reproductive organs. Presence of fully developed reproductive
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