Reproduction is the production of next generation of individuals of the same species. There are two types of reproduction – asexual and sexual reproduction. While sexual reproduction involves two parents, asexual reproduction involves only one parent that reproduces an offspring. The offspring is 100% genetically similar to the parent as only one parent is involved.
Certain animals, plants, bacteria and yeasts are capable of asexual reproduction. The offspring is produced by different mechanisms in plants and animals. Some of them are fission, budding, fragmentation, spore formation and vegetative propagation. As all the new ones come from a single parent, they possess the same strengths and weaknesses of the parent.
In plants, vegetative propagation occurs in which only one plant is involved and the new plant produced is genetically similar to the parent. Potato tubers and onion bulbs are common examples. Spores are reproductive cells that can produce new individuals without fusion with other reproductive cells. Mosses and ferns reproduce through spores.
Asexual reproduction is very common in microorganisms. Bacteria reproduce asexually by cell division called binary fission where one cell divides into two daughter cells similar in size and shape.
Most of the invertebrates produce by asexual reproduction. Hydra is a small fresh water animal which produces offspring by budding. In this process, an offspring grows out of the body of the parent. Marine creatures like sponges reproduce asexually via internal budding called gemmules. Gemmules are internal buds or specialized mass of cells that develop into offspring. Certain species of flat worms reproduce asexually by fragmentation in which the body of the worms breaks into distant pieces. Some marine animals reproduce by regeneration. In this process, a piece of the parent gets detached and grows into a new individual. Lot of insects like bees, wasps, ants and reptiles reproduce by parthenogenesis. As these creatures do not have sex chromosomes, the development of embryos takes place from unfertilized eggs.