When is asexual reproduction advantageous?

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Asexual reproduction does occur in many types of different organisms. There are different forms of asexual reproduction and there are some benefits and drawbacks to the process. Read further to learn more details about asexual reproduction.

How many parents are required for asexual reproduction?

Only one parent is needed because there is no coming together of sex cells from two individuals which happen in sexual reproduction.

Does asexual reproduction require meiosis?

Meiosis is the type of cell division that is specifically a part of the sexual reproduction process, so it is not required in asexual reproduction.

How does asexual reproduction work?

There are several methods of asexual reproduction. In all cases, one or more offspring are produced from a single parent.

What are asexual reproduction examples?

There are many examples of asexual reproduction. Examples in the plant kingdom include a young plant growing off a tuber or a fragment of a plant. Among animals, you can find fragmentation and regeneration of tissues among flatworms and also budding of cnidarians.

How many types of asexual reproduction?

There are a couple of different ways that organisms can sexually reproduce. These are discussed in more detail below.

What are the 5 types of asexual reproduction?

There are 5 main types of asexual reproduction. These include budding, spores, binary fission, vegetative reproduction, and fragmentation.

What are the 7 Types of asexual reproduction?

Some consider there to be 7 types of asexual reproduction. These include the 5 previously mentioned and 2 additional forms, apomixis and parthenogenesis. Each of these forms of reproduction is briefly described below.

  1. Budding – this is when a section of the organism, whether a cell or tissue produces a bud that gives rise to a new organism. Hydra, a cnidarian, commonly has budding.
  2. Spores – these can be produced by ferns and also by fungal organisms; the spores are usually dispersed by wind and are how these organisms can reproduce asexually.
  3. Binary fission – DNA is replicated and then the cell simply splits into two cells. This occurs in prokaryotic organisms such as bacteria.
  4. Vegetative reproduction – a method that many plants use in which a part of the plant body can produce a new plant.
  5. Fragmentation – this is when part of the body breaks off (fragments) and is able to give rise to an entirely new organism. An example is the sea star.
  6. Apomixis – this is where a seed is produced inside a plant in the absence of sexual reproduction.
  7. Parthenogenesis –  occurs in some animals, and is when an embryo can be formed without sexual reproduction. 

Why is binary fission classified as asexual reproduction?

Binary fission does not involve any type of sexual reproduction. It is one cell copying its DNA and then dividing to produce two genetically identical daughter cells. It is, thus, a type of asexual reproduction.

Animals that have asexual reproduction

There are species of animals that undergo parthenogenesis. These include aphids and members of the Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants). There are even some vertebrate animals like some types of fish and reptiles that can have asexual reproduction.

Certain invertebrates can reproduce by budding. For example, Hydra often produces buds off the side of the body which develops into a whole new cnidarian. Fragmentation is also common in some inverts, for example, sea stars can regenerate from an arm, and planarians can also regenerate if they are cut into sections.

Do plants have asexual reproduction?

Plants do have asexual means to reproduce. This can be achieved via vegetative reproduction or fragmentation.

How asexual reproduction takes place in plants?

In vegetative reproduction, the plants can produce young plants off reproductive parts such as tubers and stolons. A familiar example is a potato tuber; you can plant a tuber and produce a new potato plant from it. Bulbs and corms are also able to produce new plants. 

Fragmentation can happen in a few plants such as cacti, and also in primitive types of plants, like mosses and liverworts.

Why asexual reproduction is critical for the survival of fungi?

Asexual reproduction is essential for fungi because it enables many spores to be made quickly. These thousands of spores can then be dispersed throughout the environment. Asexual reproduction is the preferred mode of reproduction by fungi when environmental conditions are favorable.

Can humans asexually reproduce?

Humans cannot asexually reproduce even though individual cells in the body do for the purposes of growth and repair of tissues.

Is asexual reproduction possible in humans?

Asexual reproduction in which a new human is produced is not possible. Only sexual reproduction is possible in humans.

Is asexual reproduction mitosis?

Asexual reproduction does rely on mitotic divisions to produce identical cells from a parent cell. When a cell divides via asexual reproduction the daughter cells have the same chromosome number and are the same as the parent cell.

Is asexual reproduction mitosis or meiosis?

Asexual reproduction does not involve meiosis, only mitosis. Meiosis is cell division that is reserved for introducing genetic variation and reducing the chromosome number; it is the division used to make gametes for sexual reproduction.

When does asexual reproduction occur?

While some kinds of organisms like prokaryotes may always reproduce asexually, in other cases, it is reserved for when conditions in the surroundings are favorable. This may mean that there is a lot of food around, for instance, Hydra will bud mostly in summer when water is warm and lots of food is available.

When is asexual reproduction advantageous?

This form of reproduction is most advantageous when conditions are optimal in the environment. It also allows for rapid dispersal and production of offspring. With sexual reproduction a lot of time and energy is wasted finding a mate and then, in some animals, undergoing a complex courtship.

In the case of animals, there is no need to move around in search of a mate, which is energetically costly and also puts the animal at risk of being preyed on. The rapid production of young may also mean the particular species outcompetes other species in the same space. These reasons are why asexual reproduction is important for living organisms.

Why asexual reproduction is sometimes disadvantageous

The offspring are often genetically the same as the parent. This is a drawback because it means any weaknesses the parent has the offspring will have as well. 

What are the disadvantages of asexual reproduction?

One disadvantage of asexual reproduction is that any harmful genetic mutations present in a parent individual will be copied into its offspring. A population may also grow too rapidly due to reproducing asexually, which may become a problem where space and other resources are limited. The lack of gene variation is another problem since natural selection relies on this variability.

Does asexual reproduction have genetic variation?

There is limited variation introduced during genetic variation. In many cases, the offspring are identical to the parents, although there is a higher chance of mutations in organisms like bacteria. The mutations may or may not be helpful, and, in fact, there can be lethal mutations causing the new bacterial cells to die off.

Who discovered asexual reproduction?

Many scientists have been involved in discovering different types of asexual reproduction but one of the earliest was Charles Bonnett who realized that aphids had parthenonetic development.


Asexual reproduction is beneficial when conditions are favorable. This is because it allows organisms to rapidly offspring throughout the area. It is often an important component of the life cycle of plants and fungi, and also some primitive animals such as the cnidarians.

Author: Dr. Rae Osborn

Dr. Rae Osborn holds Honours Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Entomology, and Masters of Science in Entomology from the University of Natal in South Africa. She has received a PhD in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington. She was a tenured Associate Professor of Biology at Northwestern State University in Louisiana for 10 years. She also completed an AAS Degree in Information Network Specialist and an AAS in Computer Information Systems, at Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana.
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