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Asexual reproduction: what it is, types and examples

The biological advantages that asexual reproduction offers to many living beings, has undoubtedly made it the most effective reproductive method to perpetuate the survival and evolution of many species. Thus, asexual reproduction is considered one of the most widespread survival strategies within the Animal and Plant Kingdoms, as well as for many fungi and microorganisms. When there are adverse environmental conditions or even when there is a lack of nutrients, many living beings are capable of producing spores and other resistance structures through asexual reproduction.

If you want to know more about these amazing abilities of living beings, continue reading this interesting AgroCorrn article on what asexual reproduction is, its types and examples .

Index
  1. What is asexual reproduction
  2. Characteristics of asexual reproduction
  3. Types of asexual reproduction
  4. Examples of asexual reproduction in plants
  5. Examples of asexual reproduction in animals

What is asexual reproduction

The definition of sexual reproduction indicates that this is the physiological process that allows living organisms to transmit their genetic information to their descendants without the union of gametes from individuals of different sex to produce such offspring.

It is a much simpler and faster process than sexual reproduction. The following list includes many of the salient characteristics of the asexual reproduction process that many living things can carry out.

Characteristics of asexual reproduction

These are the main characteristics of asexual reproduction :

  • In asexual reproduction there is only one parent.
  • The cells involved in asexual reproduction are somatic cells (not sexual), which reproduce through mitosis (as opposed to meiosis that characterizes the sexual reproduction of gametes).
  • The genetic information of the new organisms generated by asexual reproduction is identical to that of their parent.
  • There is no exchange of genetic information during asexual reproduction, so the variability of new organisms is due solely and exclusively to possible mutations.
  • Through asexual reproduction, organisms manage to save large amounts of energy and are able to survive and guarantee the extension and perpetuation of their species in a more direct way than if they did so through sexual reproduction.
Image: UAPA or Learning Support Unit (Mexico)

Types of asexual reproduction

Now that we know what asexual reproduction is and what its main characteristics are, let’s see what types of asexual reproduction living beings have developed as survival and evolution strategies:

Sporulation

This type of asexual reproduction occurs mainly in unicellular organisms such as bacteria and fungi, which, under adverse environmental conditions (excess temperature, lack of nutrients, etc.), are capable of reproducing by creating spores as resistance structures that will be capable of surviving such unfavorable conditions.

Gemmation

By forming a gem (or bud) structure in the parent organism (both unicellular and multicellular), a new, usually smaller organism is created by duplication.

Binary fission or bipartition

By forming a septum-like structure in the cell membrane, many prokaryotic cellular organisms fission into new organisms whose genetic material is exactly identical to that of the parent.

Fragmentation or segmentation

This amazing asexual reproduction mechanism is based on the ability of the parent organism to fragment one or more parts of its anatomical structure from which a new individual will grow. Likewise, it is capable of regenerating its own structure. This mechanism is characteristic of some plants as well as certain animals, such as sea urchins and starfish. Learn more about this type of asexual reproduction and about these curious animals with this other AgroCorrn article about the Starfish: characteristics, reproduction and taxonomy .

Partenogenesis

This strange phenomenon of asexual reproduction allows some animals to reproduce asexually when there are no close individuals of the opposite sex to reproduce sexually. These animals generate diploid eggs through mitosis and it is characteristic of many invertebrates (crustaceans, flatworms, rotifers, cladocerans), as well as some vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, fish and even birds on certain occasions).

Examples of asexual reproduction in plants

The asexual reproduction in plants is also commonly known as vegetative reproduction. In it, plants reproduce through structures other than seeds, such as stems (cuttings, grafts), leaves, buds, and even roots (tubers, rhizomes, bulbs). In the following list we will see some examples of plants with asexual reproduction , both groups of plants that follow these mechanisms naturally, as well as other species that humans treat in crops for the purpose of improving agricultural production.

Examples of plants with asexual reproduction in a natural way

Examples of plants with artificial asexual reproduction

  • Strawberries (modifications in aerial stolons)
  • Sorghum (rhizome modifications)
  • Orange trees (cuttings)

Here you can expand the information on Plants with asexual reproduction: characteristics and examples and here more specifically on How ferns reproduce .

Examples of asexual reproduction in animals

Both some vertebrate animals and many invertebrates are capable of asexual reproduction. Sometimes, this asexual reproduction is complementary to the sexual one, and they simply choose it under adverse survival conditions, while for other animals it is their usual reproduction process. Let’s see in the following list some of the examples of animals with asexual reproduction , among which there are cnidarians , fish, reptiles, etc .:

  • Jellyfish .
  • Anemonas.
  • Corals
  • Sea sponges .
  • Nematodes .
  • Cladoceros.
  • Starfish (genus Linckia).
  • Mollusks : Asian snail Tarebia granifera .
  • Fish : hammerhead shark ( Sphyrna mokarran ).
  • Reptiles : lizard Cnemidophorus neomexicanus and gecko Heteronotia binoei.

If you want to read more articles similar to Asexual reproduction: what it is, types and examples , we recommend that you enter our Biology category .

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