Do simple organisms like algae and fungi have sexual reproduction?

2 Answers
Apr 7, 2017

Not as we know it. There is no male/female distinction.


Simple organisms do sometimes exchange genetic material though, in a proces called copulation, where DNA from two cells gets mixed up like in "higher" organisms.

Simple organisms like Algae & Fungi do have sexual reproduction in addition to other modes of reproduction


Simple organisms like Algae and Fungi have different modes of reproduction. These are:

  1. Vegetative reproduction
  2. Asexual reproduction
  3. Sexual reproduction

Sexual reproduction in these organisms involves the fusion of haploid gametes to form a diploid zygote, which develops into a new organism.

These fusing gametes may look similar or may be distinct into male and female gametes. Thus, sexual reproduction is of different types as follows:

  • Isogamy: In this type of sexual reproduction, the fusion gametes can not be differentiated from each other (e.g. Ulothrix).
  • Anisogamy: In this type, the fusing gametes are differentiated into male and female gametes. The male and female gametes may be structurally similar, but are differentiated on the basis of function.

One of these is motile, termed male gamete and the other is non-motile, termed female gamete. Such type of anisogamy is termed physiological anisogamy (e.g. in Spirogyra).

In true anisogamy, the male and female gametes are distinct both structurally and functionally. The male gamete is smaller and motile and female gamete is larger and non-motile (e.g. Ulothrix).

  • Oogamy: In this type of sexual reproduction, not only the gametes, even gametangia (structure producing gametes) are distinct ( Chara).