What are the benefits of sexual reproduction compared to asexual reproduction?

1 Answer
Mar 22, 2018

Sexual Reproduction produces more variance in a species that Asexual Reproduction which is the organism 'cloning' itself.


In Sexual Reproduction, variance occurs, which is also the main driver in evolution and natural selection. If you are constantly cloning yourself, like in Asexual reproduction, no variance or natural selection or evolution occurs.

A good example of this are bananas. Wild Bananas have seeds and reproduce sexually, whereas the Bananas we consume, the Cavendish variety, reproduce asexually, and we take cuttings of underground roots from these trees and plant them elsewhere to produce more Cavendish plants.
However, due to the lack of variety, we have had (pretty much) whole species of bananas wipe out, such as the Gros Michel variety, in which much of the species became extinct due to Panama Disease- which is a fungus which lives off of the plant and eventually kills it.

If the plant was instead sexually reproducing, we would not have lost the species as there would have been a few members of the variety which would probably have had immunity to the disease, or at least could fight back.
However, this would not be so as in this situation, each Gros Michel was in fact an identical clone to one another, all a cuttings from the "original Gros Michel", and were all genetically the same- and were seedless meaning there is pretty much no way they could sexually reproduce.

This is why (I'm going slightly off topic sorry) in Star Wars the Empire fade out the Clone Troopers, and instead have a variety of recruits from around the galaxy in their Storm trooper ranks. This is due to the fact a biological weapon could be developed to infect and target the clones, and due to all having exactly the same genetics, would all die and the Republic/New Empire would lose its entire army.

Anyway, hope this clears it up for you, if you don't sexually reproduce, anything new changes to your environment can potentially kill off your whole species, rather than leaving a few who have the characteristics to adapt and survive this new change.

Hope this helps!
-Charlie Palmer