AQA GCSE Biology

Revision Notes

6.1.3 Advantages & Disadvantages of Sexual & Asexual Reproduction

Sexual Reproduction

Advantages & disadvantages of sexual reproduction table

Advantages & Disadvantages of Sexual Reproduction table, IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notes


  • An additional advantage of sexual reproduction is our ability to use it and control it for our own needs:
    • Natural selection can be speeded up by humans in selective breeding to increase food production
    • we have controlled sexual reproduction in cows and selectively bred them to produce offspring that produce more milk and more meat than they would have under natural conditions

Asexual Reproduction

Advantages & disadvantages of asexual reproduction table

Advantages & Disadvantages of Asexual Reproduction table, IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notes


  • As only one parent is needed, asexual reproduction is more time and energy-efficient than sexual reproduction, as asexually reproducing organisms do not need to find a mate

Sexual & Asexual Reproduction

  • Some organisms reproduce by both methods depending on the circumstances. For example:

Malarial parasites

  • Malaria is caused by parasites that are carried by mosquitoes
  • The parasites are transferred to a human when the mosquito feeds on the human’s blood
  • These malarial parasites reproduce asexually in the human host, but sexually in the mosquito


  • Many fungi reproduce both asexually and sexually
  • These species of fungi release spores, which develop into new fungi
  • These spores can be produced via asexual or sexual reproduction
  • Spores that are produced via sexual reproduction show variation (they are genetically different from each other)


  • Many plants produce seeds via sexual reproduction but are also able to reproduce asexually
  • They reproduce asexually in different ways:
    • Some plants (eg. strawberry plants) produce ‘runners’ (stems that grow horizontally away from the parent plant, at the end of which new identical offspring plants form)
    • Some plants (eg. daffodils) reproduce via bulb division (new bulbs form from the main bulb underground and then grow into new identical offspring plants)

Runners, IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notes

Some plants grow side shoots called runners that contain tiny plantlets on them. These will grow roots and develop into separate plants

Bulbs and tubers, IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notes

Some plants develop underground food storage organs that will develop into next years plants – bulbs are an example of this

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