Binary fission is a kind of cell division where the parent cell copies its genetic material and then divides into two daughter cells with each new cell containing one complete set of the genetic instructions that are needed to run the cell. The daughter cells are exactly like the parent cell that they became a part of.
STEPS OF BINARY FISSION
- The parent cell continues to grow until it reaches its maximum size.
- The cell duplicates its chromosome through a process called replication so that there is formation of two exact copies of the genetic material existing inside of the parent cell. The copying of the DNA by the replication begins at a point on the chromosome which is known as the origin of replication. The cell plasma membrane allows the attachment of these two molecules of the DNA.
- The cell then grows even further for increasing the distance between the two copies of the chromosomes or DNA that have been attached with the plasma membrane.
- In the prokaryotes, septum (or a new cell wall) begins growing across the middle of the cell, bisecting the cell into two. This is also known as the division of cytoplasm or cytokinesis. [Amoeba does not have a cell wall hence it develops a cleavage furrow which gets the cell pinched into half.]
- When the septum is completely formed, the daughters may or may not remain attached to each other. Despite their attachment or separation, they are known to be independent units or individual bacteria.
- Binary fission results in the asexual reproduction of two identical daughter cells. (If humans could have been able to reproduce using the binary fission, the picture somehow would look like: your mother/ father would grow large and split into two, creating an identical clone.)
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF BINARY FISSION
- The advantage is that since binary fission is asexual reproduction, it is an extremely fast process. It does not take long time to form an offspring. For example, you catch a throat infection, then the bacteria inside your throat would reproduce quickly and would spread to all your friends and family.
- The disadvantage is that since the daughter cells are identical in genes, any changes in the environment that is harmful to one would put the entire population of that group in danger. For example, if the antibiotic for the throat bacteria kills one bacteria, then it would kill all the bacteria altogether.