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Asexual Reproduction

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The Seasons

The prefix “a” means “not”, so asexual reproduction refers to reproduction that is not sexual. It doesn’t require both male and female reproductive cells. It involves only one parent and the offspring are genetically identical to that one parent. They are clones of the parent.

Fun Facts

● Asexual reproduction is most commonly found in microscopic organisms and plants.
● Single-cell organisms, like amoeba, usually reproduce asexually. The process is called mitosis, and the cell basically clones itself. The original cell is called the mother cell and the two clones are called daughter cells.
● You may have taken a cutting of a plant, put it in potting soil or water, and watched it grow new roots and become a new plant. This is known as striking/cloning and is a form of asexual reproduction.
● Some plants, like potatoes, can reproduce sexually or asexually. They naturally reproduce sexually through pollination by bees, but potatoes can also be reproduced asexually with our help. If you cut off part of a potato and plant it, it will grow a new potato plant.
● There is a species of honeybee in South Africa that is able to reproduce asexually. The eggs can grow and develop without being fertilized by the male bee.
● Some plants, like strawberries, naturally reproduce both sexually and asexually. They reproduce asexually by sending out runners that grow new plants.
● One common type of asexual reproduction is called budding. In some organisms, like yeast, The parent forms a small bud on itself which grows, develops, and eventually separates itself and is a new organism.
● Some amazing and mysterious creatures commonly known as flatworms are able to reproduce asexually simply by tearing themselves in half. Each half then grows to become an individual worm.

Vocabulary

Offspring: The young born of living organisms.
Naturally: Without human help or intervention.
Reproduction: The biological process by which new individual organisms are produced.

Questions and Answers

Question: What are some advantages of asexual reproduction?
Answer: Asexual reproduction produces offspring faster. The offspring have the same genetic makeup as the parent and positive traits can be preserved. The offspring are fully developed.

Question: What are the disadvantages of asexual reproduction?
Answer: Since there is no variety in the genetic makeup of the offspring, diseases can wipe out the entire colony of an organism.