Types of Protist Reproduction

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  • 0:00 Definition
  • 0:45 Asexual Reproduction
  • 1:47 Sexual Reproduction
  • 3:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

Protists utilize a variety of asexual and sexual reproduction techniques. This lesson will help you understand and classify the different forms of protist reproduction.


When you examine the kingdom protista you might think you have been carried away to a strange land filled with strange creatures. Algae, amoebas, and slime molds, oh my! But despite all belonging to the same kingdom, these organisms have little in common. They look different, move by different means, and feed in different ways. They don't fit into any other group because they are not animals, plants, bacteria, or fungi. We call these leftovers of the living world the protists.

As different as protists may be, they all have to reproduce. This lesson will discuss how protists create new protists through both asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction.

Asexual Reproduction

Asexual reproduction requires one parent and produces offspring that are genetically identical to that parent. In addition to the convenience of self-reproduction, asexual reproduction can occur more frequently and produce rapid population growth. Because of this, asexual reproduction is the primary method protists use to reproduce.

The following are types of asexual reproduction that occur in protists:

  • Binary fission: Binary fission occurs when a single protist divides its nucleus and then divides itself into two separate organisms.
  • Multiple fission: Multiple fission is similar to binary fission, except the nucleus can divide and form many daughter nuclei. The organism will then divide into separate organisms for each nuclei that has been created.
  • Budding: Budding occurs when a new organism grows from the body of the parent organism. The new organism may separate from the parent or remain attached, forming colonies.

Sexual Reproduction

Sexual reproduction in protists requires two parent organisms. Both organisms contribute genetic material to the offspring. The benefit of sexual reproduction is that it creates this genetic variability. Sexual reproduction techniques that occur in protists are conjugation and alternation of generations. Conjugation occurs when two protists of the same species come together and form a temporary union. They exchange genetic material during this union. When the two protists separate, they are genetically different from the original organisms.

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