Living things can reproduce themselves. They have an inherent desire to multiply their species.  Their imperative is in fact to pass on their genes to a subsequent individual.  This reproduction process is one of almost exact replication and not only is a new and similar individual living entity created but, most important, the instructions  to make even more individuals are passed on.  This act of passing on of the "construction" information is obviously vital, if even more generations of entities are to be made.  In life as we know it, the "construction" information is carried by genes, which are strings of DNA molecules that contain specific "building" instructions.

In the simplest form, reproduction takes place as cell division, where a cell will divide into two, thus creating a new and independent living entity that is a copy of itself.  Sometimes, though the copy is not exactly identical.  The new cell is a mutation - different from the parent cell, in its genetic structure.  This offers evolutionary advantages in some instances.  Reproduction, where offspring are identical to the parent, is known as cloning.

More advanced forms of reproduction exist , notably sexual reproduction, which takes genetic material from two individuals to create a new individual living entity that is similar, but not identical, to the parents.  Usually each parent contributes half the genes to such offspring.

Plants can reproduce by propagation, where a piece of an individual is separated from the parent by natural or artificial processes, or even by accident.  Propagated entities are clones.


Go to
Home | Space Station | Mars | Rainforest

© 1999 Satellite Events Enterprises Inc.