I know about fission, an unicellular asexual reproduction method, where the mother cell splits into two daughter cells. Does this kind of asexual reproductions let mutations happen, leading to much needed evolutionary process? Is it same for all unicellular asexual reproductions?


1 Answer 1


It is not essentially asexual reproduction that causes mutations. Mutations can be caused because of errors in DNA replication which can happen during both mitosis and meiosis.

Mutations can also be caused because of error-prone DNA repair mechanism.

Other than these intrinsic factors there are physical and chemical mutagens that alter the DNA or accelerate the intrinsic mutagenesis mechanisms.

These mechanisms are universally common for all living organisms (that we know of :P ), however, their tolerance to mutagens and rates of intrinsic mutagenesis may vary.

Have a look at this post too.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know whether my choice of word "facilitate" was right. Can mutation happen in fission? $\endgroup$
    – Gulshan
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ Mutations occur during the process of DNA replication (as well as at other times). Of course, DNA replication is necessary for fission. $\endgroup$
    – Corvus
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Gulshan Cellular fission (or cytokinesis) is preceded by DNA replication. Even during the formation of gametes (sperm and ova) DNA replication happens which is followed by some steps that are not present in the asexual cell division or mitosis. Click on the links in the above answers; you'll find all the relevant background information. $\endgroup$
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ I can think of two kinds of asexual reproduction- i) each item of the mother cell is copied to daughter cell. ii) only DNA is copied from the mother cell and rest of the items are constructed from new DNA. I think, mutations can happen in both cases. But only in the second case, the mutation will result to a physical change of the new cell, thus making it subject to evolution. Is my idea alright? $\endgroup$
    – Gulshan
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Gulshan DNA replication is a prerequisite for cell division. Any mutation in the DNA will be inherited and expressed in the progenies. There can be asymmetric distribution of cellular components but DNA is always replicated and each cell receives a copy. Read about cell division; your doubts will be clear. $\endgroup$
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 11:04

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