Science

Difference Between Sexual Reproduction and Asexual Reproduction

Reproduction can be defined as the biological process by which new individuals of the same species are produced. If the reproductive process does not exist, the species becomes extinct, so it is considered of vital importance for the life cycle of living beings.

There are different types of reproduction and each of them is a differentiated and particular process, with characteristics of the species in which it occurs. Among them, we have sexual and asexual reproduction, which we will see in this article and then show their most notable differences.

sexual reproduction

Sexual reproduction is the process by which some species create new individuals. In this, two individuals of the same species but of different sex (male and female) take part, which unite their reproductive cells or gametes (sperm and ovules) to create a new being.

Sexual reproduction is characteristic of most animals, plants, fungi and humans and has the following main characteristics:

  • There is fusion of gametes (reproductive cells).
  • Cellular meiosis (reduction of chromosomes) occurs.
  • There is fertilization after the union of the gametes.
  • There is copulation (union of the reproductive organs).
  • Genetic recombination is introduced.

Due to the above, there will be variability of the children with respect to the parents. The descendants that originate in sexual reproduction will be the result of the combination of both parents, that is, they contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or genetic information from each of the parents. For this particular reason, there are differences or variations with respect to the parents, a characteristic that does not occur in asexual reproduction.

Asexual reproduction

Asexual reproduction is reproduction that occurs without any interaction between two different members of a species. In this process, the cells divide by mitosis, forming two new cells with the same quantity and genetic information as the original cell.

There are several different types of asexual reproduction, these include budding, where the offspring grows out of the body of the womb, and gemmules, where the parent releases a mass of specialized cells that will develop into a new individual. In asexual reproduction, an individual replicates or reproduces itself, that is, a genetically equal copy of the parent is generated, so the participation of an individual of the opposite sex is not required.

In asexual reproduction, a single organism is capable of giving rise to other new individuals, which are exact copies of the parent from the genetic point of view, so there is no variability. A clear example of asexual reproduction is the division of bacteria into two daughter cells that are identical.

Once the definitions of sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction have been presented, the following table is presented where the differences between the two definitions are indicated:

sexual reproduction Asexual reproduction
Two parents of the opposite sex (male and female) are involved Only one parent involved
There is genetic variability (the descendants have genetic information from each parent, so they present variations) There is no genetic variability (offspring are identical to the parent and identical to each other)
Gametes (reproductive cells) are involved gametes are not involved
involves the union of two cells Does not involve cell attachment
Typical of complex multicellular organisms such as higher plants, animals and humans Own unicellular organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, archaea and some fungi

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