SEXUAL REPRODUCTIONYou must be aware that reproduction is one of the distinguishing features of living beings. Reproduction is basically of two types: asexual and sexual. In asexual reproduction an organism propagates itself without the formation of sex cells or gametes. Sexual reproduction is more complex than the asexual type. It is based on the production of two kinds of gametes, the male and the female. The gametes are microscopic and in order that they fuse, certain specific conditions are required. This makes sexual reproduction so very specialised.
You may question why a complex and difficult mode of reproduction is found in nature when a simpler mode is available. It is because, an offspring that has been produced asexually has exactly the same genetic constitution Like that of its parents. Asexual reproduction necessarily involves mitosis which is a conservative process maintaining the status quo ante of the genetic material. On the other hand, sexual reproduction causes genetic variability in offspring. This is due to meiosis which is an essential component of sexual reproduction. Meiosis generates enormous variation through dependent assortment ofh omologous chromosomes and crossing-over. In addition, randam fusion of gametes at the time of fertilisation also contributes in generating variation.
You may recall that genetic.variability is a precondition for biological evolution. A species that is unable to evolve would sooner or later become extinct. Sexual reproduction hence is seen in a majority of existing forms of life to bring aboutvariability. To ensure a sexual mode of reproduction, most organisms have evolved different 'mating types' or 'sexes'.
In nature there is a vast array of diverse mechanisms of sex determination in different species.