Asexual vs. Sexual Reproduction

CAN YOU GUESS WHAT VEGETABLE THIS PLANT WILL BECOME?

Have you ever wondered how a plant or flower reached a certain size? Or whether there was a way that you could figure out the exact moment when a flowering plant turned into a vegetable? Plant reproduction aims in answering these question, as well as many others that have to deal with how plants replicate. The plant in the video was one its way to becoming a full grown zucchini. As you can see, there were many stages that the plant had to undergo before it was even able to flower. When examining plant reproduction, it is important to distinguish between two types: asexual and sexual.

To review, there are 3 main parts to a plant: roots, stem, and leaves. All of these parts play and integral role in plant reproduction. Plants are broken up into 2 main groups: non-vascular and vascular. Vascular simply means that these plants have what can be referred to as the circulatory system of the plant. Vascular plants have a transport system within them so they may rather and transport resources that is necessary to their survival. Non-vascular plants are lack the main structures that you would find in a vascular plant, however their presence in the ecosystem is vital to biodiversity. There are 3 main types of non-vascular plants: mosses, liverworts, and hornworts

liverwortsmosseshornworts

Though reproduction in plants occur in either one of two ways, the basic life cycle of the plant for both sexual and asexual is relatively the same. As explained in the visual below, the cycle proceeds as follows: When reproductive cells undergo meiosis, and produce haploid cells called spores, the  gametophyte stage begins. Spores divide through cell division to form plant structures or an entire new cell. Sperm is produced inside the male gametophyte structure and eggs are produced inside the female gametophyte structure. Both eggs and sperm form by cell division. The diploid sporocyte stage begins when the egg and sperm join in a process called fertilization. Cells formed in this stage have the diploid number of chromosomes. Meiosis in some of these cells form spores, and the cycle begins again.

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As a general outline, the main differences between asexual and sexual reproduction can be summarized in this flow chart. As you can see, there is more detail when dealing with sexual reproduction compared to asexual reproduction.

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