Common Types of Asexual Reproduction

Hydra Budding
Many hydras reproduce asexually by producing buds in the body wall, which grow to be miniature adults and break away when they are mature. Ed Reschke/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Reproduction is a marvelous culmination of individual transcendence. Individual organisms come and go, but, to a certain extent, organisms "transcend" time by reproducing offspring. In a nutshell, reproduction is the creation of a new individual or individuals from previously existing individuals. In animals, this can occur in two primary ways: through asexual reproduction and through sexual reproduction

In asexual reproduction, one individual produces offspring that are genetically identical to itself. These offspring are produced by mitosis. There are many invertebrates, including sea stars and sea anemones for example, that produce by asexual reproduction. Common forms of asexual reproduction include:

Budding

  • In this form of asexual reproduction, an offspring grows out of the body of the parent.
  • Hydras exhibit this type of reproduction.

Gemmules (Internal Buds)

  • In this form of asexual reproduction, a parent releases a specialized mass of cells that can develop into offspring.
  • Sponges exhibit this type of reproduction.

Fragmentation

  • In this type of reproduction, the body of the parent breaks into distinct pieces, each of which can produce an offspring.
  • Planarians exhibit this type of reproduction.

Regeneration

  • In regeneration, if a piece of a parent is detached, it can grow and develop into a completely new individual.
  • Echinoderms exhibit this type of reproduction.

Binary Fission

Parthenogenesis

  • Parthenogenesis involves the development of an egg that has not been fertilized into an individual.
  • Animals like most kinds of wasps, bees, and ants that have no sex chromosomes reproduce by this process. Some reptiles and fish are also capable of reproducing in this manner.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Asexual Reproduction

Asexual reproduction can be very advantageous to certain animals and protists. Organisms that remain in one particular place and are unable to look for mates would need to reproduce asexually. Another advantage of asexual reproduction is that numerous offspring can be produced without "costing" the parent a great amount of energy or time. Environments that are stable and experience very little change are the best places for organisms that reproduce asexually. A disadvantage of this type of reproduction is the lack of genetic variation. All of the organisms are genetically identical and therefore share the same weaknesses. If the stable environment changes, the consequences could be deadly to all of the individuals.

Asexual Reproduction in Other Organisms

Animals and protists are not the only organisms that reproduce asexually. Yeast, fungiplants, and bacteria are capable of asexual reproduction as well. Yeast reproduce most commonly by budding. Fungi and plants reproduce asexually through spores. Bacterial asexual reproduction most commonly occurs by binary fission. Since the cells produced through this type of reproduction are identical, they are all susceptible to the same types of antibiotics.

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Hydra: Budding

Hydra with Buds
Many hydras reproduce asexually by producing buds in the body wall, which grow to be miniature adults and break away when they are mature. Ed Reschke/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Hydras exhibit a form of asexual reproduction called budding. In budding, an offspring grows out of the body of the parent. This typically occurs in specialized areas of the parent's body. The bud will remain attached to the parent until is reaches maturity.

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Sponges: Gemmules (Internal Buds)

Sponge With Budding Progeny
Progeny are budding on the body of a sponge in the Red Sea. Jeff Rotman Photography/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Sponges exhibit a form of asexual reproduction that relies on the production of gemmules or internal buds. In this form of asexual reproduction, a parent releases a specialized mass of cells that can develop into offspring.

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Planarians: Fragmentation

Planaria
Planaria can reproduce asexually by fragmentation. They split into fragments, which develop into adult planaria. Ed Reschke/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Planarians exhibit a form of asexual reproduction known as fragmentation. In this form of asexual reproduction, the body of the parent breaks into distinct pieces, each of which develops into a new individual.

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Echinoderms: Regeneration

Starfish Regeneration
Starfish are able to regrow missing limbs and produce new organisms through regeneration. Paul Kay/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

Echinoderms exhibit a form of asexual reproduction known as regeneration. In this form of asexual reproduction, if a piece of a parent becomes detached, it can grow and develop into a completely new individual.

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Paramecia: Binary Fission

Paramecium
This paramecium is dividing by binary fission. Ed Reschke/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Paramecia and other protozoans including amoebae and euglena reproduce by binary fission. The parent cell duplicates its size and organelles by mitosis. The cell then divides into two identical daughter cells.

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Bailey, Regina. "Common Types of Asexual Reproduction." ThoughtCo, Oct. 18, 2017, thoughtco.com/asexual-reproduction-373441. Bailey, Regina. (2017, October 18). Common Types of Asexual Reproduction. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/asexual-reproduction-373441 Bailey, Regina. "Common Types of Asexual Reproduction." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/asexual-reproduction-373441 (accessed November 21, 2017).