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Question Video: Recalling an Advantage of Asexual Reproduction Compared to Sexual Reproduction Science

Bacteria reproduce asexually. Which of the following is an advantage of reproducing asexually compared to sexually? [A] Asexual reproduction introduces more genetic variation into a population than sexual reproduction. [B] Asexual reproduction requires two parents, whereas sexual reproduction only requires one. [C] Asexual reproduction allows species to become adapted to a wide range of habitats. [D] Asexual reproduction produces more offspring faster than sexual reproduction.

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Video Transcript

Bacteria reproduce asexually. Which of the following is an advantage of reproducing asexually compared to sexually? (A) Asexual reproduction introduces more genetic variation into a population than sexual reproduction. (B) Asexual reproduction requires two parents, whereas sexual reproduction only requires one. (C) Asexual reproduction allows species to become adapted to a wide range of habitats. Or (D) asexual reproduction produces more offspring faster than sexual reproduction.

The question asks us to compare asexual and sexual reproduction, so let’s take a brief look at the advantages of each of these. Asexual reproduction requires only one parent and does not involve the fusion of gametes. In contrast, sexual reproduction requires the fusion of male and female gametes, which typically come from two different parents. Because organisms that reproduce asexually don’t have to spend time finding a mate or go through a gestation period, this method has the advantage of being faster and requiring less energy than sexual reproduction. For example, some bacteria can undergo a type of asexual reproduction called binary fission in just 20 minutes. This means a single bacterium could produce 68 billion bacteria in just 12 hours.

Because of how genes are rearranged and inherited during gamete fusion, sexual reproduction leads to genetically unique offspring, while offspring produced during asexual reproduction are genetically identical. The production of genetically unique offspring increases genetic variation, giving sexually reproducing populations the advantage of being better able to adapt to their environment.

Now let’s return to our answer choices. We’ve learned that sexual, not asexual, reproduction increases genetic variation and allows for better adaptation, so we can eliminate answer choices (A) and (C). And we know that asexual reproduction requires just one parent, so we can rule out choice (B) as well. We also established that asexual reproduction is faster than sexual reproduction, so the correct answer is (D). An advantage of reproducing asexually is that asexual reproduction produces more offspring faster than sexual reproduction.

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