• Question: why are their babies????

    Asked by lionalmessi to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 27 Jun 2012. This question was also asked by pottertonl, 10v3you.
    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 27 Jun 2012:

      When bacteria reproduce they do it assexually – this means that they basically just split themselves into 2 so you end up with 2 (almost) exact copies of each other.

      Humans, like almost all other animals, are different – they reproduce sexually. We don’t reproduce by splitting to form 2 exact copies, instead we produce a new and different human (the baby) when DNA from one parent combines with the DNA from another parent.

      Imagine if we just split ourselves in 2 – we would all look very alike! I think it would be very boring!

      Does this answer your question?

    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 27 Jun 2012:

      The simplest answer is that it is so we can pass on our genes and keep them in the general population. Part of the reason why we reproduce sexually by mixing the genetic material of two individuals together (the mother and father of the baby) is to introduce variation. If we were all alike, as Emma says, the world would be very boring. But more importantly, we’d all be susceptible to the same diseases and same extremes of the environment and if something happened to make us all ill at the same time, this might wipe out the species. If, however, there is variation, it means that there is better chance of at least some individuals surviving and maintaining the species.