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1-1. Introduction

a. Reproduction Defined. The mechanism by which life is maintained is reproduction. Reproduction can be defined as the process by which a single cell duplicates its genetic material, thus allowing an organism to grow and repair itself. Reproduction, therefore, maintains the life of a member of a species. Additionally, reproduction is the process by which genetic material is passed from generation to generation.

b. Major Types of Reproduction. There are two major types of reproduction: asexual and sexual. Only one parent is involved in asexual reproduction. The parent cell may divide and become two new cells, or the new organism may arise from a part of the parent cell. In the case of humans, sexual reproduction takes place. This requires the participation of two parents. Each parent produces special reproductive cells called sex cells or gametes. In this sense, reproduction maintains the continuation of the species. If a species loses its reproductive capability, the species no longer survives. It becomes extinct.

c. Female Reproductive System Functions. The female reproductive system has specialized organs to carry out its three important functions. These functions are the production of egg cells, the disintegration of nonfertilized egg cells, and the protection of the developing embryo.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015