A asexual reproduction is that which requires a single individual. Asexual reproduction replicates or duplicates the genetic content, since there is no genetic exchange. It does not involve fusion of gametes, nor does it vary the number of chromosomes.
This type of reproduction is characteristic of unicellular organisms (prokaryotes and protists), and is also common in fungi, invertebrates and plants. There are several types of reproduction such as fragmentation or binary fission.
Advantages and disadvantages of asexual reproduction
In this article we are going to show the main advantages and disadvantages of this type of reproduction.
Advantages of asexual reproduction
- Fast. Compared to sexual reproduction it requires much less time. Especially useful for endangered species or species in need of rapid expansion. For example, after colonization of a new territory.
- Simple. It does not need the production of specialized cells (gametes)
- No energy expenditure. Since no effort is required.
- Environmentally friendly. It has no negative impact on the environment.
Disadvantages of asexual reproduction
- Lack of genetic variability. The offspring are identical to the parent. Although unforeseen mutations have occasionally occurred.
- Much slower evolution. As all individuals are identical, natural selection cannot favor the fittest.
- Less likely to survive. Since species that reproduce asexually are unable to adapt to the environment, they are more likely to become extinct.
- Adverse environmental conditions. This process can occur under adverse conditions causing the extinction of entire communities.