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Asexual Reproduction in Animals

Budding
Here, offspring develop as a growth on the body of the parent. In some species, e.g., jellyfishes and many echinoderms, the buds break away and take up an independent existence. In others, e.g., corals, the buds remain attached to the parent and the process results in colonies of animals. Budding is also common among parasitic animals, e.g., tapeworms

Tapeworms (Cestoda)
Taenia solium, the pig tapeworm
The pig tapeworm parasitizes two hosts: the definitive host (containing the adult, sexuallyreproducing stage), the human an alternate host, the pig. The life cycle: Pigs raised in unsanitary

conditions (access to human feces) may contain cysticerci "bladder worms" embedded in their muscles (meat). These consist of a capsule containing a scolex. When a bladder worm is ingested (e.g., in a pork chop), the gastric juice of the stomach dissolves the wall of the capsule. The scolex turns inside out and attaches by suckers and hooks to the wall of the intestine. It then begins to produce buds, called proglottids, at its posterior. These remain attached to each other for a time and, as they mature, each develops both male and female sex organs. The most mature proglottids eventually break loose and are passed out in the feces. Before this happens, the chain may reach a length of 20 feet (6 meters) and contain over 1000 proglottids. Each proglottid may contain up to 60,000 eggs. Although there are rudimentary nervous, excretory, and muscular structures shared by the proglottids, each can be considered a separate sexually-reproducing individual. Fertilized eggs released by the shed proglottids may reach the soil ready to be consumed by a pig.

Short-Circuiting the Life Cycle: Cysticercosis


If tapeworm eggs should be ingested by a human instead of a pig (not all that uncommon in regions with poor sanitation), cysticerci can still develop. These may form large cysts - often in the brain - which can be life-threatening (far more so than a 20-foot tapeworm in your intestine).

Diphyllobothrium latum, the broad fish tapeworm.


This is the largest (up to 18 m = 60 feet!) tapeworm found in humans. It requires three hosts in order to complete its life cycle: a microscopic freshwater crustacean, Cyclops a fish (that eats Cyclops)

a human (that eats raw or undercooked fish, e.g., sushi)

A single worm may discharge up to one million fertilized eggs into its host's feces each day.

Historically, human infection has been most common in countries along the Baltic Coast and in the Great Lakes region. But the growing popularity of sushi and sashimi made of raw Pacific salmon has caused infections by the fish tapeworm to become more common throughout the U.S.

Fragmentation
As certain tiny worms grow to full size, they spontaneously break up into 8 or 9 pieces. Each of these fragments develops into a mature worm, and the process is repeated.

Parthenogenesis
In parthenogenesis ("virgin birth"), the females produce eggs, but these develop into young without ever being fertilized. Parthenogenesis occurs in some fishes, several kinds of insects, and a few species of frogs and lizards. It does not normally occur in mammals because of their imprinted genes. However, using special manipulations to circumvent imprinting, laboratory mice have been produced by parthenogenesis. [Link] In a few nonmammalian species it is the only method of reproduction, but more commonly animals turn to parthenogenesis only under certain circumstances. Examples:

Aphids use parthenogenesis in the spring when they find themselves with ample food. In this species, reproduction by parthenogenesis is more rapid than sexual reproduction, and the use of this mode of asexual reproduction permits the animals to quickly exploit the available resources. Female Komodo dragons (the largest lizard) can produce offspring by parthenogenesis when no male is available for sexual reproduction. Their offspring are homozygous at every locus including having identical sex chromosomes. Thus the females produce all males because, unlike mammals, females are the heterogametic sex (ZW) while males are homogametic (ZZ).

Parthenogenesis is forced on some species of wasps when they become infected with bacteria (in the genus Wolbachia). Wolbachia can pass to a new generation through eggs, but not through sperm, so it is advantageous to the bacterium for females to be made rather that males. In these wasps (as in honeybees), fertilized eggs (diploid) become females; unfertilized (haploid) eggs become males.

Sex Determination in Honeybees

In honeybees, the default sex is male (unlike humans where it is female and the SRY gene is needed to produce males Link). In order to make females, the zygote must have received two copies of the csd ("complementary sex determiner") gene AND these must be different alleles. Eggs that are not fertilized contain only one of the queen's csd alleles and develop into males. In the unlikely event that a fertilized egg receives two identical alleles, a diploid male is formed (and usually eaten). Presumably, the proteins produced by csd must be different to make a female. They usually are, because the csd locus is polymorphic with some 19 alleles ("multiple alleles") discovered so far in the species. This method of sex determination is quite similar to the methods that many plants use to prevent inbreeding. Link to a discussion of self-incompatibility systems in plants.

However, in Wolbachia-infected females, all their eggs undergo endoreplication producing diploid eggs that develop into females without fertilization; that is, by parthenogenesis. Treating the wasps with an antibiotic kills off the bacteria and "cures" the parthenogenesis! Apis mellifera capensis Occasionally worker honeybees develop ovaries and lay unfertilized eggs. Usually these are haploid, as you would expect, and develop into males. However, workers of the subspecies Apis mellifera capensis (the Cape honeybee) can lay unfertilized diploid eggs that develop into females (who continue the practice). The eggs are produced by meiosis, but then the polar body nucleus fuses with the egg nucleus restoring diploidy (2n). (The phenomenon is called automictic thelytoky http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/A/AsexualReproduction.html