Advantages and disadvantages of sexual and asexual reproduction

Sexual reproduction involves the joining of two sex cells, or gametes during fertilisation. Organisms produced by sexual reproduction have two parents and are genetically similar to both but not identical to either.

The advantages of sexual reproduction:

  • it produces variation in the offspring
  • the species can adapt to new environments due to variation, which gives them a survival advantage
  • a disease is less likely to affect all the individuals in a population
  • humans can speed up natural selection through selective breeding, which can be used, for example, to increase food production.

The disadvantages of sexual reproduction:

  • time and energy are needed to find a mate
  • it is not possible for an isolated individual

Asexual reproduction only involves one parent so there is no joining of sex cells during fertilisation. Organisms produced by asexual reproduction are genetically identical to each other and their parent. They are clones.

The advantages of asexual reproduction include:

  • the population can increase rapidly when the conditions are favourable
  • only one parent is needed
  • it is more time and energy efficient as you don't need a mate
  • it is faster than sexual reproduction.

The disadvantages of asexual reproduction include:

  • it does not lead to variation in a population
  • the species may only be suited to one habitat
  • disease may affect all the individuals in a population
Two bulbs. First shows flower bud and small lateral bulb. Second shows same bulb at later date. Remains of leaves at top of flower bud and a larger lateral bulb from which the new plant will grow.