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Question Video: Recalling the Methods of Asexual Reproduction Used by Plants Biology

Which process is not an example of asexual reproduction in a plant?


Video Transcript

Which process is not an example of asexual reproduction in a plant? (A) The growth of a new plant by tissue culture. (B) The growth of a new plant from a cutting. (C) The growth of a new plant from a bulb or tuber. (D) The growth of a new plant from a seed. Or (E) the growth of a new plant from a stem runner.

Reproduction can be sexual or asexual. You’re probably already familiar with sexual reproduction, as this is how most plants and animals, including humans, typically reproduce. Sexual reproduction requires the fusion of a male and female gamete, which typically come from two different parents. The process of combining genetic material from two gametes, called fertilization, produces genetically unique offspring, which increases the genetic variation of sexually reproducing populations.

Asexual reproduction is found in organisms belonging to all taxa, from single-celled bacteria to complex, multicellular animals, such as lizards and snakes. It is faster than sexual reproduction and only requires one parent. However, asexual reproduction does not increase genetic variation. Rather, the offspring produced are clones of the parents and each other. Asexual reproduction can occur through a variety of methods, some of which are shown here.

The question asks us about asexual reproduction in a plant. So let’s turn our focus to vegetative propagation, which is a specific form of regeneration found in plants and some algae. During vegetative propagation, a fragment or special structure of a parent plant develops into an entire new plant. Because it is a form of asexual reproduction, the new plant will be genetically identical to the parent plant. For example, in the right conditions, a cutting of a stem or leaf can take root and eventually develop into a mature individual.

Plant clones can also arise from runners, which are modified stems that grow sideways, or bulbs and tubers, such as onions and potatoes. So we can rule out answer choices (B), (C), and (E) because they are all examples of vegetative propagation.

To study plants in a controlled environment, scientists often use tissue culture. This technique allows for large numbers of clones to be grown for experiments that need to control for genetic differences. Because tissue culture relies on the same biological mechanisms as vegetative propagation, it is a form of asexual reproduction. And we can eliminate answer choice (A).

Seeds are produced when plant sperm found within grains of pollen fertilize egg cells found in the ovule. The resulting seed is simply a plant embryo contained within a seed coat. We know that the union of male and female gametes is a characteristic of sexual reproduction. So the process that is not an example of asexual reproduction in a plant is choice (D), the growth of a new plant from a seed.

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