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Types of Asexual Reproduction

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  • 0:02 Reproduction
  • 1:14 Binary Fission
  • 2:11 Fragmentation
  • 2:48 Budding
  • 3:41 Vegetative Propogation
  • 4:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

If an organism comes from a single parent, then it reproduced asexually. This results in genetically identical offspring. Learn about different types of asexual reproduction, such as binary fission, fragmentation, budding and vegetative propagation.

Reproduction

Graphic of a kitten and a bacteria

What do this kitten and this bacteria cell have in common? The answer: they both became living organisms through reproduction, which is the process of making offspring. It doesn't matter if you have one cell or trillions of cells, being able to reproduce is a defining characteristic of being alive. Of course, there are some striking differences in the way organisms make offspring.

There is sexual reproduction, which is a type of reproduction that requires two parents. In other words, it takes a mommy cat and a daddy cat to make a kitten. In sexual reproduction, genes are combined from both parents, so offspring are genetically unique.

There is also asexual reproduction, which is a type of reproduction in which only one parent is involved. This is how the bacteria cell reproduces. With asexual reproduction, all of the genes come from a single parent, so the offspring are genetically identical to the parent. There are different ways organisms reproduce asexually. Let's take a look at some of the most common types.

Binary Fission

For many one-celled organisms, like bacteria, binary fission is the way to go. This is a type of asexual reproduction in which a cell divides into two cells. This is a fairly easy term to remember if you recall that the prefix 'bi' means two, like a bicycle has two wheels. The word 'fission' means dividing, so binary fission is literally dividing in two. When a bacterium is ready to reproduce, it makes a copy of its DNA and then splits, giving the copy to a newly formed and identical bacteria cell. This can be a very quick process allowing bacteria to multiply several times an hour if conditions are right. That means a single bacteria cell could grow into millions in less than a day. Fortunately, conditions for bacterial reproduction are rarely ideal or our world would be overrun by bacteria.

Fragmentation

Another type of asexual reproduction is called fragmentation. With this process, we see that an organism splits into pieces and each piece develops into a new organism. There are some creatures of the land and sea that will do this. For example, some worms have the ability to split in two and continue life as two separate worms. Likewise, you could slice a starfish into pieces and make new starfish. You can chop off a starfish's leg and as long as it has some of the central disc attached, it will regenerate into a new offspring.

Budding

Budding is another type of asexual reproduction. This happens when an organism forms a growth that develops into a new organism and then breaks off. For example, a cellular organism, like a yeast cell, can grow a bud filled with its own cells. That bud will stay attached until it's grown and developed. At that time it will drop off forming an identical offspring. We also see budding in some basic sea creatures, like some species of jellyfish. Jellyfish don't rely solely on asexual reproduction, but it is part of the process of making a new offspring. First a fertilized egg from jellyfish parents grows into a polyp that attaches itself to a rock. The polyp then grows genetically identical buds that get released and become new jellyfish.

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