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Difference Between Fragmentation and Regeneration

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Fragmentation and Regeneration

MVSAT 2024

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.


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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 been shed.

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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, at least to a certain extent.


Major Differences Between Fragmentation and Regeneration



During the process of fragmentation, an organism splits into fragments and each of these fragments develops into individual organisms. 

During the process of regeneration, an organism regrows a particular body part in case there has been certain damage to it.

Each fragment forms into a new organism. 

There are no new organisms formed during this process. 

The process of fragmentation is only seen in organisms that have the same simple body organization and are multi-cellular. 

The process of regeneration is seen in multi-cellular organisms that have complex body organization. 

Fragmentation is only limited to certain organisms. 

Regeneration, however, is seen in all organisms either up to a certain extent or completely. 

This process does not involve the use of specialized cells. 

This process involves the use of specialized cells in proliferating and forming a cell cluster, which then proceeds to form various other kinds of cells and tissues. 

Fragmentation is only seen in invertebrates.

Regeneration is seen both in vertebrates and invertebrates. 

Fragmentation is a process of reproduction (asexual).

Regeneration is a process of reproduction as well as regeneration of lost body parts, tissues, or cells. 

This process is generally seen in plants, especially non-vascular ones. 

This process is generally seen in animals as compared to plants. 

Fragmentation is highly dependent on the structural complexity of an organism and can occur as a natural process or may result from the action of a predator.

Regeneration is seen across all living organisms and is mostly the result of an action or damage to the concerned body part. 

Organisms like sea anemones, sponges, and flatworms undergo the process of fragmentation. 

The tail of a lizard, limbs of an octopus, or regrowth of blood vessels in humans are some instances of 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 the 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 remodeling their remaining tissues, other animals like lizards replace missing body parts by growing a blastema - specialized 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.


Advantages of Fragmentation

The main benefit of fragmentation is that it may be accomplished with just one parent because mating between males and females is not required. The entire cycle of reproduction may be readily accomplished by forming pieces from the parent organism's body, then growing and transforming them into new identical organisms for their dynasties. The process of fragmentation also has the advantage of being able to complete its reproductive cycle in a shorter length of time. The time and circumstances that are spent during the mating season and during sexual reproduction are avoided in the reproduction of asexual systems. As a method of asexual reproduction, fragmentation is a highly fast process. 

Furthermore, fragmentation allows a completely new generation of identical organisms to be grown from a single parent in less time. Fragmentation can occur and progress in every habitat and under various climatic circumstances.

Disadvantages of Fragmentation

Although it is clear from the preceding explanation that asexual reproduction, particularly fragmentation, plays an important role in preserving ecological balance by creating offsprings in a shorter amount of time, there are several drawbacks of this process. The most serious disadvantage of fragmentation is the loss of biodiversity.

Since asexual reproduction is carried out by a single parent, only the qualities, genes, and characteristics of that parent are passed on to the next generation. When there is not much genetic variety, the following generation tends to be fairly similar. In sexual reproduction, on the other hand, two genes from each parent are croosed. As a result, genetically different children are produced. 

The second disadvantage of fragmentation is that the same issues that plagued the parents would almost certainly be present in the following generation. In asexual reproduction, the same features and chromosomes are replicated and transferred to every child at the same time. As a result, some of the illnesses that the children inherit may cause them to go extinct early.

Fragmentation tends to yield identical species. As a result, their bodies' weaknesses may render them vulnerable to parasites and predator assaults. They may struggle to survive as a result of this. If additional stressors arise, such as a rapid change in the environment or habitat, the species may suffer even more and finally be destroyed, leading to extinction. Sexual reproduction, on the other hand, is less likely to have such issues since it encourages higher diversification.


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.

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FAQs on Difference Between Fragmentation and Regeneration

1.  What is Fragmentation?

Fragmentation is one of the most essential processes that occur most frequently in multicellular organisms (i.e. the organism that is made up of more than a single cell). Fragmentation is the process by which a creature splits into portions that develop to be similar to the original organism. Fragments are the numerous bodies or pieces that are generated as a result of such a process, which exhibits asexual reproduction.

2. What is the process of reproduction in sexual reproduction?

Reproduction is the biological process through which new individuals are formed from the parents. The two types of reproduction that are broadly studied are sexual and asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction is the process through which offsprings are formed as a result of two parents mating. A female egg and a male sperm are combined through fertilization to produce a zygote, which grows into an embryo, and then into a fully-grown creature. Sexual reproduction includes allogamy, internal fertilization, external fertilization, and autogamy.

3. What is Regeneration?

Regeneration is a process in which an organism's parts regenerate to their original state after being cut into numerous fragments. This process is carried out by stem cells, which are specialized cells. It occurs in organisms with a relatively basic structure and a small number of specialized cells.

The cells multiply rapidly, resulting in a vast number of cells. To develop distinct cell types and tissues, each cell undergoes modifications. Development involves a series of changes. The tissues are what make up the numerous bodily sections and organs.

4. What is the process of reproduction in asexual reproduction?

Asexual reproduction is the process of completing the reproductive cycle with only one parent. Binary fission, budding, fragmentation, and parthenogenesis are examples. In bacteria, the process of binary fission occurs when a single bacterium divides into two cells. During budding, extremely few organs form in the parent's bodies, which tend to break over a period of time, resulting in the formation of two offspring. Yeasts and other Hydra creatures have this sort of asexual reproduction. Corals, sponges, and starfish are all popular species that exhibit fragmentation. Many fishes, reptiles, and amphibians use parthenogenesis as a method of asexual reproduction.

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