Chances are you know the two fundamental requirements for a living thing to exist it has to be able to do two things. It has to be able to reach the point of being able to reproduce and it has to pass it’s genetic information to the next generation. Fundamentally, that is it. Never has a species continued that wasn’t able to do either of those. Reproduction can happen two ways. Either Sexually or asexual, but they both have the same function. Passing the genetic information onto the next generation. In this chapter, we are going to look at sexual vs asexual reproduction.
Asexual reproduction is when a single organism makes a copy of itself, without any help from a partner. In this case the generation of offspring does not require the fusion of egg and sperm (gametes). It’s like making a photocopy of a photocopy, or having a twin who is just like you, but without the whole “finding a mate” part. There are many different ways for organisms to reproduce asexually, such as budding, fragmentation, and self-fertilization. It’s like a one-person party, you don’t need anyone else to have fun and make new little versions of yourself! Examples of this include a bacterium splitting into two or a plant pollinating itself.
There are several different types of asexual reproduction, including budding, fragmentation, vegetative reproduction, and self-fertilization. Asexual reproduction is common among single-celled organisms like bacteria and protozoa, but it also occurs in some plants, invertebrates, and even some vertebrates. This type of reproduction is efficient and can lead to rapid population growth, but it also means that there is no genetic diversity within the population, which can make it more susceptible to diseases and environmental changes.
On the other hand some organisms can reproduce via sexual reproduction. This requires two offspring and involes the sperm fertilising the egg cell. The sperm and egg are referred to as gametes or sex cells. Since each contains half the genetic information, these gametes are haploid cells. So when they fuse together, a fertilised egg is formed – more commonly referred to as a Zygote. This zygote can eventually grow into a baby which as you know will eventually mature and the whole cycle can repeat!
This fertilized egg contains genetic information from both parents and develops into a new individual. This process allows for genetic variation within a species, which can increase the chances of survival in changing environments. However, the downside is this is an energy intensive process and fewer offspring are typically created which also have a longer time to reach full maturity. This process can occur via internal or external reproduction – but we will cover this in more detail next chapter!
Compare and contrast sexual and asexual reproduction [6 marks]
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2 marks: defining sexual and asexual
2 marks: similarities and differences
2 marks: at least 2 examples