What is a distinguishing feature of
asexual reproduction? (A) More than one individual is
necessary. (B) There is variation in the next
generation. (C) New offspring can be produced
rapidly. (D) A wide range of alleles
increases the chance of resistance to disease. Or (E) it requires a lot of time
Reproduction is the process by
which an organism or organisms can produce offspring. There are two main types of
reproduction: sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction. This question is asking us about a
distinguishing feature of asexual reproduction. So let’s explore this process in
some more detail.
Asexual reproduction involves only
a single parent, such as a single-celled bacterium. Using this information, we can
already eliminate answer choice (A).
This form of reproduction always
results in the formation of offspring that are genetically identical to the
parent. This can be seen as a major
drawback of asexual reproduction, as the offspring produced will effectively be
clones of the one parent that produced them and therefore have a low genetic
variation. This means that they will not be
particularly resilient to changes in their environment, as the offspring have no
variety in alleles that might provide them with some resistance.
Using this information, we can
eliminate answer choices (B) and (D), as there will likely be no variation in the
offspring produced by asexual reproduction and so no range of alleles to provide
resilience to environmental changes like the introduction of new diseases.
A major benefit of asexual
reproduction, on the other hand, is that it is usually a rapid process. For example, some bacteria are able
to reproduce asexually in just 20 minutes. The speed of asexual reproduction
is increased further, as it only involves one parent. And so not much energy is expended
in finding a mate. Using this information, we can
eliminate answer choice (E), as we know that asexual reproduction does not usually
require a lot of time or energy.
This means that we have found the
correct answer to this question. The answer choice that describes a
distinguishing feature of asexual reproduction is (C): new offspring can be produced