Asexual reproduction

Asexual reproduction

Organisms reproduce to pass on their genes and create new members of their species. If the organisms of a species all fail to reproduce then the species may become extinct.

Asexual reproduction does not involve sex cells or fertilisation. Only one parent is required, unlike sexual reproduction which needs two parents. Since there is only one parent, there is no fusion of gametes and no mixing of genetic information. As a result, the offspring are genetically identical to the parent and to each other. They are clones.

Bacteria reproduce asexually.

One parent bacterial cell divides into two daughter cells with identical DNA. The combined size of the two daughter cells equals the size of the parent.

Plants

Asexual reproduction in plants can take a number of forms. Many plants develop underground food storage organs that later develop into the following year's plants. Potatos and daffodils are both examples of plants which do this.

Cross-section of two bulbs.  The first shows the flower bud and a small lateral bulb beside it.  The second shows the same bulb at a later date, with the remains of leaves at the top of the flower bud and and a larger lateral bulb from which the new plant will grow.

A daffodil bulb at the beginning and end of the growing season, with a lateral bud where the new plant will grow.

Strawberry runners branching off plant.
Strawberry runners branching off plant

Some plants such as the spider plant, Chlorophytum, produce side branches with plantlets on them. Other plants like strawberries, produce runners with plantlets on them.

Animals

Asexual reproduction in animals does occur in sea anemones and starfish, but it is much less common than sexual reproduction.