==Asexual Reproduction:== [image:] Asexual reproduction only involves one organism. Some plants and many single celled organisms like bacteria reproduce asexually. This relies on mitosis a type of cell division that produces genetically identical offspring. The offspring produced are all identical. Species that reproduce asexually have very little variation as mutations are the only source of any differences between individuals. The image to the right shows some bacteria undergoing asexual reproduction (it has been sped up). '''Advantages''': Organisms do not need to find a partner, this saves time and energy. Because offspring are identical to their parents none of the offspring will be less well adapted to their environment. '''Disadvantages''': Because offspring are identical none of them will be any better adapted to their environment. The lack of variation means that if environmental conditions change the entire population may die out. ==Sexual Reproduction== [image:] Sexual reproduction requires both a male and a female. Most mammals and fish reproduce sexually. Some organisms like corals and Komodo dragons can actually reproduce either sexually or asexually. Sexual reproduction relies on Meiosis, a type of cell division that produces gametes (sex cells) with half the number of chromosomes. Gametes (sex cells) from a male and female will fuse to form a zygote -a single cell with the full number of chromosomes. The zygote continues to grow (by mitosis) until it reaches adulthood. The offspring produced by sexual reproduction are all different. This variation is due to the fact that the offspring each inherit a different combination of genetic material from each parent. '''Advantages''': Because the offspring inherit a unique combination of genetic information they are all different. This means that some of them will be better adapted to their environment. Variation helps to ensure the survival of a population / species. If conditions change some individuals may have adaptions that enable them to survive and continue the species. '''Disadvantages''': Because the offspring are all unique, some will be less well adapted to their environment. Sexual reproduction also requires individuals to find a breeding partner which takes time and energy.
Credit: Ben Himme