Most yeast cells are capable of reproducing asexually, a process called mitosis, and sexually, a process called meiosis. The most common form of asexual reproduction for fermenting yeast, especially Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is budding. Asexual reproduction is most common when resources are abundant. Sexual reproduction is generally the process yeast pursue in times of stress, like being low on nutrients. Sexual reproduction often involves a sporulative process that creates haploid cells. Haploid cells will ultimately fuse together in a sexual reproductive process creating a diploid allowing the sporulative process to occur again.
- Asexual Reproduction (Mitosis): reproduction of a yeast cell from a single parent – This often is by budding and results in the children having the same genes as the parent. Both diploid and haploid cells can reproduce asexually. Mitosis is most common when yeast have abundant resources.
- Sexual Reproduction (Meiosis): reproduction of a yeast cell from two parents – This is only performed by haploid cells. Two haploid cells combine to form a diploid cell that is a combination of the chromosomes of both parent cells. Haploid cells are formed by sporulation when yeast are in a stressed environment.
- Budding: a type of asexual reproduction where a new identical yeast cell is formed from a small part of the mother cell – The budded cell has the same chromosome makeup as the mother.
- Sporulate: can be thought of as the start or end of the sexual reproduction process as several new cells or spores are formed – The spores have half the chromosome sets of the mother making them haploids. Haploid cells are needed for sexual reproduction.
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