Asexual reproduction involves only one parent who passes on the genetic information to their
offspring. This sharing of genetic information makes the offspring identical to the parent. There
are different types of asexual reproduction:
Binary Fission - only single-celled organisms reproduce in this way. The cell duplicates its
contents, including its nucleus and other organelles and then splits into two cells with each one
being identical. (bacteria, amoeba, algae)
Asexual Spore Production - spores are similar to seeds, but are produced by the division of cells
on the parent, not by the union of two cells. One parent may produce many spores, each of which
will grow into a new individual, identical to its parent. (fungi, green algae, moulds, ferns). Many
spores are produced to ensure that at least some of the individual organisms will survive.
Zoospores can also be produced by some fungi and green algae. They move using tail-like
Asexual Reproduction in Plants
A plants continues to grow throughout its life. The rapidly growing tips of roots and stems contain
specialized reproductive cells called meristem. At a certain time these cells will specialize into
cells that make up roots, stems and leaves. If parts of the plant are damaged, the meristem cells
make repairs. Clones can be made from cuttings of a plant, because the meristem cells can
specialize to reproduce the different parts needed to make a new plant. Asexual reproduction can
produce many plants very quickly. This is an advantage in places where the environment doesn't
change very much (bacteria). By building a large population of organisms very quickly the species
is able to thrive. The great disadvantage is that when the environment changes, all of the
organisms will die, if they do not have the ability to adapt to the change.
Budding - the parent organism produces a bud (a smaller version of itself), which eventually
detaches itself from the parent and becomes a self-sufficient individual - identical to the parent.
Coral also reproduces in this way, but do not detach themselves (hydra, yeast, coral, sea sponge).
Sexual Reproduction Sexual reproduction usually involves two individual organisms. The offspring that are produced
from this union have a mix of characteristics, half from one parent and the other half from the
other parent. Sexual reproduction does not always involve male and female parents, but can have
specialized gametes (reproductive cells that have only one role - to join with another gamete
during reproduction). Many organisms are capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction, like
some moulds, such as Rhizopus, which produce spores. They can also produce zygospores,
enabling them to reproduce sexually as well.
Sexual reproduction has the advantage of providing lots of variation within a species, helping it to
survive when the environment changes. The main disadvantage is that this process t