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Disregarding intermediates, the basic distinction between asexual and sexual reproduction is the way in which the genetic material is processed.
Typically, prior to an asexual division, a cell duplicates its genetic information content, and then divides. In sexual reproduction, there are special kinds of cells that divide without prior duplication of its genetic material, in a process named meiosis.
This mode of reproduction is called asexual, and it is still used by many species, particularly unicellular, but it is also very common in multicellular organisms.
In sexual reproduction, the genetic material of the offspring comes from two different individuals.
Sexual reproduction involves the combining and mixing of genetic traits: specialized cells known as gametes combine to form offspring that inherit traits from each parent.
Gametes can be identical in form and function (known as isogamy), but in many cases an asymmetry has evolved such that two sex-specific types of gametes (heterogametes) exist (known as anisogamy).
As sexual reproduction developed by way of a long process of evolution, intermediates exist.
The defining characteristic of sexual reproduction in eukaryotes is the difference between the gametes and the binary nature of fertilization.
This double-chromosome stage is called "diploid", while the single-chromosome stage is "haploid".
Diploid organisms can, in turn, form haploid cells (gametes) that randomly contain one of each of the chromosome pairs, via meiosis.
Sexual reproduction in eukaryotes is a process whereby organisms form offspring that combine genetic traits from both parents.
Chromosomes are passed on from one generation to the next in this process.