Name Three Types of Asexual Reproduction

By Melissa Voelker

Asexual reproduction, or reproduction utilizing the genetic material from only one parent, occurs throughout nature in both plant and animal species. In some species it is the regular method of reproduction while in others it is done in emergency or otherwise special circumstances. There are multiple kinds of asexual reproduction which are able to produce multiple kinds of offspring. While in some cases the offspring will be exact copies of the parent, in other cases they will have changes that mark them as different.

Budding

Commonly seen in parasitic animals such as tape worms, budding is a process wherein offspring develop as a growth on the parent's body. While some species can grow these buds anywhere, others only form them in specialized anatomical areas. Bacteria, yeast, protozoans, coral and even jellyfish use budding as a regular method of reproduction. In the case of animals such as jellyfish, the young eventually break off from the parent and become independent, while with organisms such as coral they stay attached their entire lives, becoming part of "colonies."

Fragmentation

Often used by worm species, fragmentation is an asexual reproduction method that entails the parent animal growing to maturity then breaking up into multiple small pieces. These pieces, in turn, grow into mature worms as well, then the process can start over again. The offspring are all genetic duplicates of the original parent animal.

Parthenogenesis

Also known as "virgin birth," parthenogenesis entails a female plant or animal producing viable eggs without the aid of a male to fertilize them. It is seen in some species of fish, insects, frogs, lizards, invertebrates and plants, as a regular form of reproduction or an emergency method. It is very rarely used by mammals unless there has been some form of scientific manipulation done to them, such as mice in laboratory settings. The sex cell (gamete) produced from parthenogenesis is usually female, but certain environmental situations can produce male gametes as well.

Other Types

Apomixis is a type of asexual reproduction found in plants, where embryos are grown from egg cells without first being fertilized by pollen. Binary fission is an equal and direct division of the cytoplasm and nucleus in an organism, which leads to the formation of two identical organisms.