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Asexual Reproduction

Prepared for brilliant 8th grade science students by Andrew Cross

Directions: As you read the following information and visit the following sites take
notes in the handout about asexual reproduction. All links will open up new windows.
Simply close these new windows when you are done with the required tasks.

A Brief Summary of Some Main Points Regarding

Asexual Reproduction:

the production of offspring that are genetically identical to the parent organism
only one parent involved
does not provide any genetic variation among individuals of a species
maintains beneficial traits in all offspring
generally used by less complex organisms

Important Background Information:

Cells contain genetic information in a substance called DNA.

Chromosomes are the structures found in the nucleus of a cell that contain DNA.
A copy of a chromosome can be made during a process called replication.
When one cell divides into two identical cells, each cell gets a copy of each
Mitosis is the name given to the process of one nucleus splitting into two
identical nuclei.
Mitosis is critical for asexual reproduction.

After reading all these COPY THE ANSWERS to the first part of your worksheet
before moving on

Now you are ready to explore more about the topic.

Task 1. Lets learn more about MITOSIS
A. You will soon be visiting the Cells Alive website.
When you are there, click on cell biology on the left side of the screen.
Then select Mitosis.
Watch the video and read over the description of the process of Mitosis.
Label the 7 main phases of Mitosis on your worksheet under section A.
Write a brief description of the process of Mitosis next to each label.
You will be required to know the names of each step of the process.
When you have read and understood these directions click here to go to the Cells Alive site.

B. watch a video of mitosis in a real cell
Answer all questions on your worksheet under section B.

C. Watch mitosis again at another site!

(You are watching the mitosis side, not the meiosis.)
Answer all questions on your worksheet under section C.

Task 2. A cell can divide many times and thus produce many, many identical
cells. Between divisions a cell just needs time to grow in size and to make
another copy of each chromosome.
D. Investigate this cell cycle by watching a video at Cells Alive
Go back to Cells Alive and again click on cell biology on the left side of the screen.
This time select Cell Cycle on the left hand side.
Watch the video and think about how long the cell spends in interphase vs. the time it spends in mitosis.
Answer all questions on your worksheet under section D.
To go back to Cells Alive, click here.

Task 3. Various organisms reproduce asexually without using Mitosis. This section
allows you to investigate these processes.

E. Binary Fission: Bacteria and Amoeba are two examples of organisms that reproduce asexually by binary

Reproduction of an Amoeba
The single-celled amoeba demonstrates a simple method of asexual reproduction; it divides in half by a process called fission, producing
two smaller daughter cells. After a period of feeding and growth, these two daughter cells will themselves divide in half.

Visit this site to see bacteria using binary fission:

F. Budding: yeast is an example of an organism that reproduces asexually by budding.

In this photo the large cell on the bottom is currently budding. The large cell in the top middle has already budded
several times (notice the pock mark scars where buds have formed and separated.
Key Points:
parent organism divides into two unequal parts
buds break off and live independently
buds grow in size and can then have their own buds
the nuclei of both the parent and the daughter are identical

Yeast budding

G. Vegetative Reproduction: Plants often use this to reproduce asexually.

An overview: Vegetative, or asexual, reproduction is the reproducing of plants using vegetative tissues (i.e., not
involving sexual reproduction). This results in a plant that is genetically identical to (i.e., a clone of) the original
'donor' plant. Vegetative reproduction occurs both naturally and artificially. It is a very common practice in farming
for reproducing plants with particularly good characteristics, and is used extensively with some species in potato
farming and forestry, particularly in high productivity, fiber farming systems (e.g., plantations of hybrid poplars,
eucalyptus, southern US and Caribbean pines).
A tuber, like this potato, is a great example of this:

wikipedias thoughts on vegetative reproduction

Answer all questions on your worksheet under section E, F, G

H. How long does it take a culture of bacteria to grow?

On the cells alive web site there is a cell cam on which you can see cell populations grow as a result of rapid cell
division. On the left side of the page click activities and then click cell cam. Check out the bacteria cam.
Click here to open the site and view the progress of the bacteria culture (you may also check out the cancer site)
CLICK HERE to watch a cool video of bacteria and answer the first question on your worksheet.
CLICK HERE to watch a cool video that answers the second question on your worksheet.
CLICK HERE to watch another video and answer the last question on your worksheet.
Key points:
no parent cell remains.
daughter cells of equal size.
Daughter cells can grow and divide again
each daughter cell has identical DNA

Task 4:
I. Look at some cells that are going through various stages of Mitosis.
You will look at pictures of individual cells from an onion root tip and will try to determine which stage of mitosis each
cell is in. In order to do this please complete the chart when asked to do so.
In order to complete this activity, visit this site from the University of Arizona.
When you have completed the activity, you can calculate the percentage of the time spent in each of the stages of
Fill in the table on your worksheet under section E, F, G Part 1

Task 5. If you have time: Extra Credit! & Mitosis Videos

Go back to the cells Alive site and find the puzzle section.
Complete the crossword on MITOSIS (or click this address):
After you finish it - Print it out, attach it to your answer packet, and turn it in for extra credit!
These links offer some amazing video of mitosis taken from the iKnow digital media website. If you would like to,
please feel free to visit this site after you have view these videos. Please turn your volume on to listen to explanations
1) A great example of mitosis in plants can be seen here:

2) The cell cycle is explained again at this site:

3) To see a zygote dividing through mitosis, go here:

4) Still have time?? Take the Cells Alive Cellular Biology Quiz at this site. Try to do better than Mr. Cross 9/10!


Still have more time????? Use this memory game to learn your cell organelles!!


Still time? Go to games and do a crossword!