Investigating Sexual and Asexual Reproduction in YeastInstructions

For the purposes of this task, assume yeast populations follow this simplified rule: When yeast are reproducing sexually, they will be found as diploid cells that can go through meiosis (or mitosis), while populations that are producing asexually will include only haploid cells undergoing mitosis. Remember that chromosomes can be counted using karyotypes as seen in your text Fig 9.3.

Sex is by no means necessary for reproduction.

Interestingly, yeast switch to sexual reproduction when they are under conditions of stress.

Short Essay on Sexual and Asexual Reproduction

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A. Asexual Reproduction
Asexual reproduction in flowering plants is common. Many different seed plants utilize one of a number of different methods of this form of reproduction. There are several reasons why seed plants may find this form of reproduction advantageous. If the environment has been stable for many generations, variability may not be as essential to the survival of the species. Asexual reproduction which is not as complex and requires far less energy, would be preferable. When colonizing a new area, finding a mate for sexual reproduction may be difficult or impossible. If the environment is particularly harsh, the more delicate or susceptible organs or stages of sexual reproduction may not be able to survive. Many plants which inhabit such areas as deserts or arctic tundra only reproduce asexually. In this laboratory, you will examine various types of asexual reproduction, which are described in the following paragraphs.
Types of Asexual Reproduction
1. Rhizomes
Plants such as the grasses, cattails and sedges produce underground stems or rhizomes. As these stems grow through the soil, they will periodically produce adventitious roots and a new above ground shoot. If the rhizome subsequently dies, a new separate plant will have been formed (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Plant Reproduction by the use of Rhizomes.
2. Tubers
Tubers are actually modified rhizomes. They are formed in such plants as Irish potatoes. They develop when specialized stem branches grow down into the ground and swell up with starch containing cells. Buds on the tubers will grow into new plants. Examine the potato tuber and note the buds which are commonly termed "eyes" (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Plant Reproduction by the use of Tubers.
3. Runners (Stolons)
These are horizontally growing stems that produce few, if any, leaves. At the spot where a leaf would normally develop a node, these plants will produce adventitious roots down into the soil, and new above ground shoots. Examine the strawberry plant or spider plant. Note the runner and the new shoots (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Plant Reproduction by the Use of Runners/ Stolons.
4. Plantlets
A few seed plants such as the duckweed and Kalanchoe sp.

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Task 5 Define a problem or pose a question: Based on the information above and in the figure “A Simplified model of Yeast Reproduction,” define a problem or question you could investigate regarding whether or not yeast are using sexual reproduction in the conditions you identified in Preparation Task 4.

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Preparation Task 2) Explain why sexual reproduction could be advantageous to a population under stressful conditions.Preparation Task 3) Consider the differences between mitosis and meiosis. Examine the figure “A simplified model of yeast reproduction,” and identify ways in which you could determine whether a yeast cell was going through mitosis or meiosis.

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