Reproduction means creation. It is not necessary for an organism to breed to remain alive. It is very important that the process of reproduction continues for the earth to have life on it. Organisms ensure themselves to be a neighbourhood of the ecosystem through the method of reproduction. In this life and death process, one or more newly born offspring are produced from the parent organisms. Do organisms create exact copies of themselves? No, there is always a chance of variation. Before we mention variation, we'd like to understand what exactly reproduction is and what are the processes involved.
Do Organisms Create Exact Copies of Themselves?
A cell is a basic unit with which every single life starts. The cell contains a nucleus, which carries the genetic information for subsequent generation within the sort of DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid). We can say that the elemental process of reproduction is DNA replication. When a reproducing cell commences division, it primarily starts to form a reproduction of its DNA.
This replica will be separated from the original DNA as it can’t build up an organism all by itself, the cell also divides into two and we get a cell with new DNA. According to the DNA codes, the proteins are made within the new cell.
The altered DNS copy will code for the proteins that will be different from the first ones. Variations in organisms are a result of different proteins. In this case, the bodily structures that an organism inherits from its parent won’t be a point to consider anymore and also would be drastic and slow. Variation during reproduction is an inbuilt tendency and helps in laying a pathway for evolution.
The reproduction that takes place asexually limits the chances of variation. Organisms create exact copies of themselves, a clone and therefore the probabilities of variation are very high during a sexually reproducing organism.
Importance of Variation
As living organisms have the power to breed, they tend to increase their population and feed themselves with the available resources in their environment. If there are changes in DNA and body structures, it becomes very difficult for them to survive in their habitat and it’s known to all that any environment is not consistent and changes with factors like climate, temperature, availability of resources, etc. During these environmental changes, if a particular species is too adamant to change, it can’t survive in that habitat. Here comes the role of variation. Variations are helpful for the species as it helps them to adapt themselves to that particular environment and give them a chance of survival.
For example, thermophilic bacteria are variants that are immune to heat. They have an opportunity for survival in high temperate zones while others die.
Accumulation of Variation
Why do fruits, for example, bananas look alike? This is because most of the fruits reproduce asexually, which usually involves just one parent. During agamogenesis, the genetic makeup of only one parent is transferred, which is why we don't see many variations in their physical characteristics. However, we do see slight changes produced due to minor inaccuracies while copying DNA.
But in amphimixis, we see an enormous variety amongst organisms because it involves the fusion of genes from both parents. This fusion gives rise to innumerable combinations to the same gene set leading to organisms looking different from their parents. The variation that's accumulated, is passed on over the years, which ends up in noticeable changes from the past few generations. The basis for evolutionary processes is, however, contingent on the choice of variants by environmental factors.
Why is it Important to Have Variations?
Variations amongst organisms may be a very complex process and involve a careful examination of those processes to know them better. The reasons why it is important to show differences are -
It makes up for the staple for evolution
Hybrids are often produced: Different variations of animals and plants are often produced
Lays the foundation for heredity amongst organisms
Helps organisms to adapt to various physical conditions
Helps within the selection of various variants which are suited to different environmental conditions
Variations produce to organisms being visibly different from one another
Long-Term Consequences of Accumulation of Variation
Variation, as we've seen, is critical within the field of science. It leads to the formation of the latest species which will adapt much more efficiently than their predecessors. On an intricate, this also helps us understand the science behind this phenomenon on an intricate level, enabling a deeper insight into unanswered questions.