1. REPRODUCTION IN ORGANISMS
- It is the reproduction that involves formation of male and female gametes, either by the same individual or by different individuals of the opposite sex.
- It results in offspring that are not identical to the parents or amongst themselves.
- It is an elaborate, complex and slow process as compared to asexual reproduction.
- The period of growth to reach in maturity for sexual reproduction is called the juvenile phase. In plants, it is known as vegetative phase.
- In higher plants, the flowering indicates the end of vegetative phase (beginning of reproductive phase).
- Annual & biennial plants show clear cut vegetative, reproductive & senescent phases. In perennial plants, these phases are very difficult to identify.
- Some plants exhibit unusual flowering. E.g.
- Bamboo species flower only once in their lifetime (after 50-100 years), produce large number of fruits and die.
- Strobilanthus kunthiana flowers once in 12 years.
- In animals, juvenile phase is followed by morphological & physiological changes prior to reproductive behaviour.
- Birds living in nature lay eggs only seasonally. However, birds in captivity (e.g. poultry) can be made to lay eggs throughout the year.
- The females of placental mammals exhibit cyclical changes in the ovaries, accessory ducts and hormones during the reproductive phase. It is called oestrus cycle in non-primates (cows, sheep, rat, deer, dog, tiger etc.) and menstrual cycle in primates (monkeys, apes & humans).
- Based on breeding season, mammals are 2 types:
a. Seasonal breeders: The mammals (living in natural conditions) exhibiting reproductive cycles only during favourable seasons.
b. Continuous breeders: They are reproductively active throughout their reproductive phase.
Senescence (old age):
- It is the last phase of lifespan and end of reproductive phase.
- During this, concomitant changes occur in the body. E.g. slowing of metabolism etc. It ultimately leads to death.
- In plants & animals, hormones cause transition between juvenile, reproductive & senescence phases. Interaction between hormones and environmental factors regulate the reproductive processes and the associated behavioural expressions of organisms.