The reproduction of organisms usually occurs sexually, with two individuals of different sex, carriers of complementary gametes or asexually. As a curious fact, we can say that there is around 1% of the planet's species in which a very peculiar type of asexual reproduction without previous fertilization can occur: parthenogenesis. From parthenogenesis in bees and moths, to parthenogenesis in cold-blooded vertebrates such as fish and reptiles, diverse organisms can reproduce as parthenogenetic species at some point in their life cycle.
Continue reading this interesting article by Ecologist Verde and discover in detail what is parthenogenesis and examples.
Parthenogenesis is one of the types of asexual reproduction most striking of the animal kingdom. It has been studied for more than 100 years, allowing researchers around the world to discover new features and causes of parthenogenesis. But, how parthenogenesis takes place exactly?
It is a strange asexual reproduction phenomenon that allows females of certain animal species to reproduce even when there are no males to reproduce sexually. Through the formation of haploid gametes by mitosis, females are able to develop new embryos exclusively from your maternal genetic material.
Surprising, right? Let's see in the next sections more characteristics and examples of this curious reproductive phenomenon.
It is possible to differentiate between types of parthenogenesis attending to various classification criteria. On the one hand, within the animal kingdom, depending on the type of meiosis that occurs during the formation of gametes, parthenogenesis can be:
On the other hand, within invertebrates and particularly insects, parthenogenesis can give rise to offspring of different sex. Depending on the proportion of each sex of these descendants, parthenogenesis can be:
In the same way, depending on the capacity of the species to be able to opt for parthenogenesis as an asexual reproduction process, it can be considered:
Parthenogenesis has been verified in different organisms, being more common in invertebrates and in some vertebrates such as fish and reptiles. However, parthenogenesis in mammals has begun to occur artificially, under the intervention of humans in clinical research trials. Regarding parthenogenesis in plants, it should be noted that this is less common than in animals.
In the following list you will find examples of organisms that perform parthenogenesis, classified according to the group of living beings to which they belong and if their parthenogenesis occurs naturally (in the wild) or through the intervention of scientific trials (in captivity).
On the other hand, it is interesting to highlight how scientific advances have managed to bring parthenogenesis to the human species. Several studies have managed to carry out clinical trials with human cells to develop the human parthenogenesis for applications for cell and tissue therapy.
The main advantage of the parthenogenesis in biology is attributed to the species survival, allowing their evolution. Between the causes of parthenogenesis, scientific studies highlight the need for animals and plants to cope with drastic environmental conditions and the need to increase the number of individuals in their population, being able to survive before resuming sexual reproduction that usually continue under favorable conditions.
Thus, it is possible to affirm that species capable of reproducing through parthenogenesis benefit from different advantages, such as:
However, not all are advantages in parthenogenesis. Let's see in the next section some of its main disadvantages.
From the point of view of genetic diversity, parthenogenesis, as a type of asexual reproduction, gives rise to the loss of information exchange and genetic variability, with the consequent cloning of genetic material in the descendants.
It would thus be a process of inbreeding that hinders genetic diversity between organisms, sometimes leading to parthenogenetic offspring having abnormalities and even suffering early death.
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