Biology - Reproduction (AQA Syllabus A)

In GCSE Science students will look at genetic variation and its control. This is the second of four quizzes on that topic and it looks in particular at sexual and asexual reproduction.

Reproduction can be either asexual or sexual. Plants can reproduce asexually, as can simple single celled organisms like bacteria and protozoa. Most animals and plants reproduce sexually which creates variation in populations. This variation can lead to natural selection and therefore evolution of a species.

Asexual reproduction in single celled organisms takes the form of budding or binary fission. In plants, it can be carried out artificially by taking cuttings or tissue culture and happens naturally by runners and rhizomes. Asexual reproduction gives rise to offspring that are genetically identical to each other and the parent.

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Sexual reproduction requires that two sex cells merge to form a new cell. The technical name for any sex cell is 'gamete' and the new cell they form is called a zygote. These are useful words to remember as they appear often in questions about sexual reproduction. An animal zygote is implanted in the lining of the uterus where it develops to become a new individual. Fertilisation can be carried out artificially in a process called in vitro fertilisation.

In animals, the male gamete is sperm and the female gamete is the egg. When the sperm penetrates the egg, the egg is said to have been fertilised. The gametes of plants are the pollen and the ovule. A fertilised ovule becomes a seed.

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  1. Which of the following is not an example of asexual reproduction?
    Pollination involves gametes and fertilisation and can produce new varieties of plants. Asexual reproduction produces clones - genetically identical to each other and the parent plant
  2. Which one of the following statements about plant reproduction is false?
    This question actually tests your knowledge of sexual reproduction in general. You are expected to know that sexual reproduction involves genes from both parents. It is the same for both plants and animals
  3. How does sexual reproduction lead to evolution?
    Every fertilisation results in the creation of a unique set of genes within the new individual which will be similar, but never identical, to the parents. Natural selection will mean that the most successful genetic combinations will survive and reproduce, passing on the useful characteristics
  4. Which of the following options best describes sexual reproduction?
    When the two gametes, the egg and sperm or pollen and ovule, have fused (joined) we say that the egg or ovule has been fertilised
  5. The genetic information passed from parent to offspring is contained in what?
    From your studies of genetics, you should know that chromosomes are made up from genes and that chromosomes are found in the nucleus of cells. If the third option sounded tempting as the right answer, read it carefully - are chromosomes carried on genes or vice versa?
  6. In human reproduction, which hormone prepares and maintains the uterus lining to receive the zygote?
    Oestrogen stops the production of the hormone FSH and promotes the production of luteinising hormone which stimulates the release of a mature egg from the ovary. Testosterone is an important male hormone. FSH causes an egg to mature in the ovaries
  7. Tissue culture requires only very small parts of a plant but is more expensive than taking cuttings. Why?
    Cuttings are a very cheap and easy way to produce plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. The downside is that not all cuttings are successful
  8. What do we call the cell formed when fertilisation has occurred?
    An animal zygote grows in the uterus to become a new individual. A plant zygote develops to become a seed
  9. What do we call the process in which a zygote is created artificially by scientists or doctors?
    IVF is used in human fertility treatments and to create animal clones. The zygote must be implanted into a uterus of the host animal
  10. Variation between individuals in an animal population is genetic but may also be caused by what?
    These are examples of environmental variation and will not be passed on to later generations

Author: Kev Woodward

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