Fragmentation is a form of asexual reproduction when an organism breaks into multiple fragments or smaller parts of itself. Each fragment results in the growth of a separate, individual and independent organism, which are clones of the parent organism. Fragmentation is a result of an organism breaking off from itself and is exhibited in certain plants, fungi, sea stars and annelid worms.
Regeneration, on the other hand, is the process of partial or complete regrowth of tissues in an organism where there has been some damage. This means if an organism is split or broken into several pieces, each of its parts grows back to its original condition.
There are specialized stem cells in certain organizations that are responsible for carrying out this procedure. A common example of the process of regeneration is house lizards growing back their tail after it has shed.
Fragmentation v/s Regeneration
The most important difference between fragmentation and regeneration is that, while the former process involves two different parts from one parent organism growing into complete individuals by themselves, the latter one is a more generic process involving regrowth. While limited species of organisms are capable of fragmentation, almost all species are capable of regeneration, atleast to a certain extent.
Major Differences Between Fragmentation and Regeneration
Fragmentation in Various Organisms
A common method of asexual reproduction in many organisms- fragmentation occurs across various fungi, cyanobacteria, certain plants and some animals including sponges, sea stars and more.
Fragmentation in Plants
Fragmentation is a common form of vegetative or asexual reproduction in plants, which occurs mostly when a rooted shoot gets detached from the main plant.
Sometimes, plants also form plantlets on the leaves; later on, which get detached to become independent plants. Organs like bulbils and turions are produced in other plants as well.
The method of fragmentation is fairly common in non-vascular plants, including various kinds of mosses. Fragments are often carried off by water, air or other external sources, which on reaching a friendly and suitable environment for growth, root themselves and become a new plant.
Apart from the natural method of asexual reproduction in plants, fragmentation is also used by humans to propagate growth or multiplication. This involves various artificial methods of cutting, grafting, layering and division by the use of organs like rhizomes, corms and tubers.
Fragmentation in Animals
Fragmentation in animals like sponges, various annelids or flatworms is a natural process of reproduction.
However, fragmentation in animals may happen in two kinds- architomy and paratomy.
Architomy is when an organism fragments into two and both of the fragments have their organs and tissues independently.
In case of paratomy, the fragmentation takes place in a more perpendicular format for both the fragments to develop as individual organisms in a head to tail manner, while aligning their body axis.
Regeneration in Various Organisms
Regeneration is an ability that allows animals and plants to repair or restore complete body parts, organs, cells or tissues that are missing or have been damaged.
The process of regeneration occurs among various organisms in different ways; while certain plants and animals like jellyfish replace missing body parts but remodelling their remaining tissues, other animals like lizards replace missing body parts by growing a blastema- specialised bud of cells, which rapidly divide to recreate the damaged or missing body part.
Another process of regeneration involves the method of compensatory hypertrophy- the method that human organs like the liver, undergo. In this process, when a certain part of an organ is destroyed, the remaining part eventually grows to its original size and ensures that the organ functions normally.
While fragmentation is the process of asexual reproduction where each fragment grows to become an individual organism, regeneration is the process when an organism regrows or regenerates a lost body part.