Chemistry

Question

Why does sexual reproduction produce offspring with characteristics different from their parents, whereas offspring produced through asexual reproduction are identical to their parents? Please use the following words in your answer: chromosome, DNA, mitosis, meiosis, gamete, zygote, clone.

1 Answer

  • The process of sexual reproduction involves two parents, each contributing one gamete (and different types of genetic information, in shape of DNA). Gametes are produced by a process, called meiosis, which starts by the duplication of the chromosomes, followed by two rounds of cell divisions and halving of the chromosome number. Gametes have half the chromosome number of other adult cells of an organism. When two gametes merge, zygote is created. 

    A key feature of meiosis is the exchange of chromosome pieces which occurs in the first division of this process, called recombination or crossing over. Recombination is a very important source of genetic variation between individuals of sexually reproducing species, and the driving force for the process of natural selection.

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