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Sexual and asexual reproduction

Review your understanding of sexual and asexual reproduction in this free article aligned to NGSS standards.

Key points:

  • Reproduction is the process of making new organisms. Parent organisms reproduce to make offspring.
  • When organisms reproduce, they pass their genetic information to their offspring. This genetic information includes genes, which are pieces of hereditary material that affect an organism's inherited traits.
  • During asexual reproduction, a single parent produces offspring. The offspring have the same genes, and therefore the same inherited traits, as the parent.
  • During sexual reproduction, two parents produce offspring. The offspring have a mix of genes from both parents. As a result, offspring have a different set of traits compared to either parent.
A large bacterial cell dividing into two cells.
A large bacterial cell reproduces asexually by dividing into two. Image credit: “Dividing achromatium cells, light micrograph" by Djpmapleferryman, CC BY-SA 4.0.

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