How do fungi reproduce: Fungi belong to the Fungi kingdom and the Eukaryota domain. They are heterotrophic organisms with absorptive nutrition, cosmopolitan distribution and mostly anaerobic respiration. More than 145,000 species of fungi have been described, but it is estimated that there could be more than 2.2 million species yet to be discovered.
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How is the reproduction of fungi
In order to understand how fungi reproduce, we must first know how they are classified. If we classify fungi according to the phylum to which they belong, these can be:
How do Mushrooms reproduce: On the other hand, if we classify them according to their type of reproduction, they can be:
- Perfect fungi : they are all those that can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Regardless of the phylum to which they belong, this type of fungi can conveniently alternate sexual and asexual reproductive cycles. More than 90% of known fungal species are part of this classification.
- Imperfect fungi : also called deuteromycetes are all those that, regardless of their phylum, do not have a documented sexual reproductive process. Imperfect fungi only reproduce asexually and represent only 10% of all known fungi. Glomeromycetes are the main representatives of this group.
How do fungi reproduce: All fungi reproduce by means of spores . These can originate through sexual or asexual processes, they are dispersed thanks to the incidence of wind, water, animals, etc. and they germinate with favorable environmental conditions ; first forming hyphae and then developing mycelia. On the other hand, the thallus of fungi can be holocarpic or eucarpic.
- Holocarpic thalli : they have the ability to completely become a reproductive structure, preventing the somatic and reproductive phases from coexisting at the same time and individual.
- Eucarpic thalli – have distinct reproductive structures that allow the somatic and reproductive phases to co-exist.
How do fungi reproduce: Sexual reproduction of fungi
How do Mushrooms reproduce: Sexual reproduction is unique to perfect fungi . These can be of any phylum, although zygomycetes, ascomycetes and basidiomycetes tend to be part of this group. In the vast majority of cases, fungi that reproduce sexually also reproduce asexually.
Although sexual reproduction takes longer and generates fewer offspring, fungi practice it to:
- Increase its genetic variability .
- Cope with various diseases or unfavorable conditions .
How do fungi reproduce: In sexual reproduction, two individuals of the same species unite their genetic material to create a new individual that has characteristics of both. There are several mechanisms by which fungi reproduce sexually, but the most important are:
- Somatogamy : two close fungi of the same species fuse their vegetative cells or somatic hyphae to form a zygote. This can be homothallic (if the hyphae belong to the same individual) or heterothallic (if the hyphae belong to different individuals).
- Gametangium : The male and female sex cells of two fungi of the same species connect and pass through the gametic nuclei through a fertilization tube.
- Gametangiogamy or gametangial copulation : the gametangia of two nearby fungi come into contact to create a zygote that contains the genetic material of both.
- Processes involving mobile and/or immobile gametes : reproduction is carried out by means of spores or sperm and oogonia.
How do fungi reproduce: The spermatia and oogonia
How do fungi reproduce: The spermatia and oogonia are fungal cells analogous to sperm and egg cells . When united, these form zygotes from which new individuals arise. In the case of reproduction by spores , the process begins with the production of sexual spores in the gametangia, organs that in turn are formed in the progametangia. These are haploid cells that are generated by meiosis, which is why they are called meiospores.
These spores can be:
- Ascospores : produced in the asci of ascomycetes.
- Basidiospores – produced in the basidia of basidiomycetes.
- Zygospores or zygospores : produced in the zygosporangia of zygomycetes.
How do Mushrooms reproduce: Regardless of the type of spore, it can be: spore + or spore – . For fertilization to occur there must be one of each type and of the same species. After these spores unite their cytoplasm, they fuse and form a cell called a dikaryon in a process known as plasmogamy; followed by the fusion of their nuclei, a process known as karyogamy.
The resulting cell is a zygote , a multinucleate diploid. This will form hyphae and later divide by meiosis to reduce its genetic load and originate more sexual spores.
How do fungi reproduce: Asexual reproduction of fungi
How do fungi reproduce: Asexual reproduction is the one that involves a single parent to generate offspring. Fungi originating from asexual reproductive processes are clones, which means that they have a genetic load exactly equal to that of their parent .
Fungi use asexual reproduction to colonize substrates because it produces much more offspring, is faster, and can occur more frequently than sexual reproduction.
Among fungi there are several types of asexual reproduction:
- Sporulation : It is the main mechanism of asexual reproduction of fungi. It is executed through asexual spores known as mitospores because they originate through mitosis. Some fungi produce only one type of spores while others produce several different types throughout their life cycle.
- Budding : the fungus develops a bud that multiplies by mitosis and ends up separating from the parent to live independently as a new organism.
- Binary fission or fission of somatic cells : it is typical of yeasts. It occurs in unicellular fungi and consists of the mitotic division of a mother cell to form a daughter cell exactly the same.
- Fragmentation of the soma : a segment of the mycelium of the parent fungus separates to originate a new individual.
How do fungi reproduce: Within asexual reproduction, asexual spores, conidiospores and sporangiospores take part. Next, we will see them in more detail.
How do Mushrooms reproduce: Sexual spores of fungi: Asexual spores can be exospores or endospores. Let’s see what each of them consists of.
- Sexual spores of fungi: Exospores or exogenous spores : are those that are formed outside a cell or specialized apparatus, and not inside a sporangium.
- Sexual spores of fungi: Endospores , endogenous spores or internal spores: are those that are produced in the conidia or sporangia: Sexual spores of fungi: if they are produced in the conidia (specifically in the conidiophores) they are called conidiospores and if they are produced in the sporangia they are called sporangiospores.
How do fungi reproduce: Conidiospores
How do fungi reproduce: Conidiospores can be arthroconidia, chlamydoconidia, or blastoconidia.
- Arthroconidia : They are formed by fragmentation of a thick septum.
- Chlamydoconidia are formed by thickening of the hyphae.
- Blastoconidia : They are of blastic origin and are formed by budding.
How do Mushrooms reproduce: The sporangiospores can be zoospores or aplanospores . Zoospores are uniflagellate or biflagellate motile spores of smooth or bearded flagella produced in zoosporangia; and aplanospores are immotile spores without flagella.
Remember that asexual spores do not need to unite with other spores; because only by having favorable environmental conditions, they can germinate and give way to new clonal organisms.