what is sexual reproduction?

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Science recognizes two main types of reproduction, sexual and asexual.  Asexual reproduction is where a species is able to reproduce independently, without a partner.  Sexual reproduction requires two parents, a male and a female.  The genetic material of one must pass to the other.  Usually, we think of sexual reproduction as the genetic material of the male being passed to the female of the species and the female carries the child until it is ready to be born. 

Of course, there are other forms of sexual reproduction.  Plants, fungi, and fish also reproduce sexually.  With fish and other animals that reproduce through an egg, the female lays the egg and it is fertilized by the male.  Fish fertilize their eggs once they are outside of the female's body; however, birds fertilize the egg before it leaves the female's body. 

Plants often need the help of another species, like bees, to transfer the genetic material from the male parts of the plant to the female parts of the plant.  We call this process polination, but it is still a type of sexual reproduction.  While there are many forms of sexual reproduction, they all involve the genetic material of two parents.

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