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DISCUSS THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SEXUAL AND ASEXUAL REPRODUCTION In order to avoid extinction species must reproduce and pass their genes on to the next generation, thus ensuring the survival of the population. For reproduction to occur cell division is necessary and this can be divided into two categories according to the behaviour of the chromosomes, they are known as mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis is when the daughter cells finish up containing exactly the same number of chromosomes as the parent cell, typically two of each type, known as the diploid state. Mitosis takes place when an organism grows or reproduces asexually. Meiosis is when each daughter cell ends up with exactly half the number of chromosomes as the parent cell, one of each type, which is known as the haploid state. Meiosis is associated with sexual reproduction and generally takes place in the formation of gametes or in some cases' spores. Asexual reproduction is the process of one individual organism producing one or more new individuals. It does not involve the combination of genetic material from two different individuals and therefore the new individuals are clones of the parent organism. ...read more.


Many flowering plants can reproduce asexual as well as sexually. Asexual reproduction allows plants to increase their numbers or to survive between growing seasons. It gives them extra flexibility and allows them to reproduce and live even outside the flowering season. Vegetative propagation produces new plants without forming flowers and seeds. A single parent has offspring that are genetically identical, both to it and to each other. Other plants can regenerate or repair themselves, stems or leaves that are broken off can root and grow into new plants. By being able to reproduce asexually as well as sexually they have adapted themselves and taken advantage of nature to make sure they have a better chance of survival. In sexual reproduction there are two forms of fertilisation, cross fertilisation where the gametes come from two separate individuals and self fertilisation where both gametes come from the same individual. As plants can not move they use both forms of fertilisation and they have evolved many wonderful strategies to make sure that their genes pass to the next generation. ...read more.


There are many advantages and disadvantages to both asexual and sexual reproduction, the main advantages being the rapid increase of population and variation respectively. In my own opinion it is the organisms that can produce both asexually and sexually that have the advantage over other organisms that use only one form of reproduction. They can use sexual reproduction to gain variation that is needed for survival and they can use asexual reproduction to increase the population rapidly, and as a back up if sexual reproduction fails. To illustrate the pros and cons of both types of reproduction I would use the aphid as an example. They use asexual reproduction to give birth to wingless females which are born pregnant, they in turn give birth to winged females who can fly away and colonise new plants. As the days grow shorter towards the end of the summer aphids of both sexes are born who then reproduce sexually, laying their eggs which survive the winter to start the whole process again. We only have to go into our gardens in the summer to see how successful this process is as every garden will have at least some aphids present. ...read more.

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This is a well researched essay that is very well written.
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Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 23/07/2013

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