Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. Reproduction is a fundamental feature of all known life; each individual organism exists as the result of reproduction. The known methods of reproduction are broadly grouped into two main types: sexual and asexual.
In asexual reproduction, an individual can reproduce without involvement with another individual of that species. The division of a bacterial cell into two daughter cells is an example of asexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is not, however, limited to single-celled organisms. Most plants have the ability to reproduce asexually.
Asexual reproduction is the process by which an organism creates a genetically-similar or identical copy of itself without a contribution of genetic material from another individual. Bacteria divide asexually via binary fission; viruses take control of host cells to produce more viruses; Hydras (invertebrates of the order Hydroidea) and yeasts are able to reproduce by budding. These organisms do not have different sexes, and they are capable of "splitting" themselves into two or more individuals. Some 'asexual' species, like hydra and jellyfish, may also reproduce sexually. For instance, most plants are capable of vegetative reproduction—reproduction without seeds or spores—but can also reproduce sexually. Likewise, bacteria may exchange genetic information by conjugation. Other ways of asexual reproduction include parthogenesis, fragmentation and spore formation that involves only mitosis. Parthenogenesis (from the Greek παρθένος parthenos, "virgin", + γένεσις genesis, "creation") is the growth and development of embryo or seed without fertilization by a male. Parthenogenesis occurs naturally in some species, including lower plants (where it is called apomixis), invertebrates (e.g. water fleas, aphids, some bees and parasitic wasps), and vertebrates (e.g. some reptiles, fish, and, very rarely, birds and sharks). It is sometimes also used to describe reproduction modes in hermaphroditic species which can self-fertilize.
Sexual reproduction requires the involvement of two individuals, typically one of each sex.
Allogamy is a term used in the field of biological reproduction describing the fertilization of an ovum from one individual with the spermatozoa of another.
Self-fertilization (also known as autogamy) occurs in hermaphroditic organisms where the two gametes fused in fertilization come from the same individual. They are bound and all the cells merge to form one new gamete.
Mitosis and meiosis
Mitosis and meiosis are an integral part of cell division. Mitosis occurs in somatic cells, while meiosis occurs in gametes.
Mitosis The resultant number of cells in mitosis is twice the number of original cells. The number of chromosomes in the daughter cells is the same as that of the parent cell.
Meiosis The resultant number of cells is four times the number of original cells. This results in cells with half the number of chromosomes present in the parent cell. A diploid cell duplicates itself, then undergoes two divisions (tetraploid to diploid to haploid), in the process forming four haploid cells. This process occurs in two phases, meiosis I and meiosis II.