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Fungi reproduce in a variety of ways. Based on the type of fungi and their environmental needs, fungi may reproduce through budding, fragmentation, sexually or asexual spore production. Yeasts reproduce through the process of budding. During the budding process a single cell divides into two cells, the new cells repeat the process thus increasing the population of yeast cells under the proper conditions.
When the hyphae, tubules, of fungi break off and start to grow on their own, the process of fragmentation occurs. The new fungi grow independently and continue the process to produce new specimens.
Fungi that have hyphae can produce spores in one of two ways, either sexually or asexually. When reproducing asexually, the hyphae give off spores. In addition, spores can be produced sexually when the fungi produce two types of specialized cells known as gametes. One of each type of gamete must meet to form a spore. Once the spores form, they have the ability to wait for the proper environmental conditions before they mature.
Bacteria have the ability to reproduce through the asexual reproduction process called binary fission. Each bacteria cell splits in half and each new cell contains all of the components of the original cell including its DNA template. When bacteria are uninterrupted, they go through binary fission very quickly therefore, their numbers increase rapidly.
Viruses are unable to reproduce on their own; they must find a host cell that meets their reproductive needs. When a virus finds a suitable host, it may cling to the outside of the cell or the host cell may internalize the virus. When a host cell consumes a virus, the process is called phagocytosis. At this point, the virus disrupts the normal cell functions by injecting its genetic components into the cells. The host cell makes copies of the viral proteins until the cell membrane of the host splits apart allowing the release of the viral copies so that they can invade more cells.
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