Asexual reproduction is a type of reproduction which does not involve the fusion of gametes or change in the number of chromosomes. The offspring that arise by asexual reproduction from a single cell or from a multicellular organism inherit the genes of that parent. Asexual reproduction is the primary form of reproduction for single-celled organisms such as archaea and bacteria. Many multicellular animals, plants and fungi can also reproduce asexually.
While all prokaryotes reproduce without the formation and fusion of gametes, mechanisms for lateral gene transfer such as conjugation, transformation and transduction can be likened to sexual reproduction in the sense of genetic recombination in meiosis.
Prokaryotes (Archaea and Bacteria) reproduce asexually through binary fission, in which the parent organism divides in two to produce two genetically identical daughter organisms. Eukaryotes (such as protists and unicellular fungi) may reproduce in a functionally similar manner by mitosis; most of these are also capable of sexual reproduction.
Multiple fission at the cellular level occurs in many protists, e.g. sporozoans and algae. The nucleus of the parent cell divides several times by mitosis, producing several nuclei. The cytoplasm then separates, creating multiple daughter cells.
In apicomplexans, multiple fission, or schizogony appears either as merogony, sporogony or gametogony. Merogony results in merozoites, which are multiple daughter cells, that originate within the same cell membrane, sporogony results in sporozoites, and gametogony results in microgametes.
Some cells divide by budding (for example baker's yeast), resulting in a "mother" and a "daughter" cell that is initially smaller than the parent. Budding is also known on a multicellular level; an animal example is the hydra, which reproduces by budding. The buds grow into fully matured individuals which eventually break away from the parent organism.
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