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Asexual Reproduction – Definition, Characteristics, Types, Examples

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  • Last Updated : 15 Jun, 2022

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, fungus. 

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, children generated are the replicas/clones of the parent.
  • Offspring develops at a very high rate.

Types of Asexual Reproduction

  • Fission, fragmentation, and budding are seen in microorganisms like an amoeba, hydra, worms
  • Vegetative propagation and spore development are observed in plants, algae, and fungi.

Fission

In Fission, a parent splits into two or more individuals of almost equal size who are identical to the mother cell. Example bacteria, archaebacteria, unicellular eukaryotes like protists, and some fungi.  

Binary Fission

Binary Fission in Amoeba

Fragmentation

In Fragmentation, the body is divided into many fragments, which eventually evolve into whole creatures. Examples: worms, fungi, plants, and starfish.

Fragmentation in Planaria

Budding

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.

Budding

Budding In Hydra

Vegetative Propagation

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.

Grafting

Grafting, type of Vegetative Propagation

Spore Formation

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.

Sporangium

Spore formation in Fungus

Advantages of Asexual Reproduction

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.
  • Succulents plants are grown and re-grown using the plant part, which is the form of vegetative reproduction.
  • Through vegetative propagation, Sugarcane can be grown.

Conceptual Questions

Question 1: Why the offspring through asexual reproduction is said to be cloned?

Answer: 

Asexual reproduction occurs through a single mother cell, the offsprings have similar genetic material as that of their mother cell and no mixing of genetic material hence the offspring are called clones of their mother cell.

Question 2: What do you understand by asexual reproduction? 

Answer:

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, fungus. 

Question 3: When do plants prefer asexual reproduction in place of sexual reproduction?

Answer:

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.

Question 4: What are the different types of vegetative propagation shown in plants?

Answer:

Vegetative propagation is seen in plants. Different parts of the plant-like root, stem, and leaf are used to make new plants.

  • Vegetative propagation through the stem, for example, Mint, Chrysanthemum
  • Vegetative propagation through the leaf, for example, Bryophyllum
  • Vegetative propagation through the root, for example, sweet potato
  • Grafting, for example, Rose
  • Rhizome, for example, Ginger

Question 5: Why vegetative propagation is used or promoted in farming industries?

Answer: 

Vegetative propagation is widely used in farming industries because it produces the clone of the mother cell and the chances of a failed crop is less as compare to seed cultivation also it takes less time to grow into a yielding crop plant.

Question 6: Difference between sexual and asexual reproduction?

Answer: 

 

Asexual Reproduction

Sexual Reproduction

1.Occurs in prokaryotic microorganisms and 
in some eukaryotic organisms.
Occurs in multicellular organisms.
2.It involves single parents i.e. Mother cellIt involves both male and female cells
3.No formation of gametes.
 
Formation of gametes.
 
4.Somatic cells of parents are involved.
 
Germ cells of parents are involved.
 
5.No fertilization occurs.Fertilization is observed.
 
6.No involvement of reproductive organs.Presence of fully developed reproductive
organs.
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