Sexual reproduction is advantageous because it increases variation amongst the plants via random fertilization, crossing over, and independent assortment. An increase in the variety amongst individuals of a species is advantageous to that species for the following reasons.
- There is more likely to be survivor(s) of the species should the environment change. The individuals that possess the more advantageous variations will be better adapted to their environments and more likely to survive in that particular environment. As a result, the survivors will have more opportunities to produce offspring. Over time, the genes of the survivors will become more prevalent within the gene pool of the population. As time passes, the results will accumulate and a new generation will be created in which the individuals obtain the favorable characteristics that make the species better adapted to its environment. This is called natural selection.
- It is more likely that some individual of the plant population will be resistant to diseases. Thus, variety helps to ensure that the entire plant population will not become extinct when introduced to a pathogen.
- The mixing of genes may create an advantageous mutation.