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Leaving cert Biology Revision: Reproduction


Understanding Reproduction

For a species to survive, living creatures must reproduce to create new members of that species. It's like having children, albeit there are other approaches. The continuity of life and the diversity of living things depend on both sexual and asexual reproduction.  

Kinds of reproduction

Sexual Reproduction: In this process, a mother and a father combine to make a new person. Their traits are mixed, giving each offspring a distinct personality. 

Asexual Reproduction: Asexual reproduction requires just one parent. Genetically identical kids are produced when a parent replicates itself.

Movement through Membranes

Cell structure 

There are two primary types of cells: prokaryotic and eukaryotic.

  • Animals and plants have eukaryotic cells. They have a nucleus that houses their genetic material, cytoplasm, and a protective membrane.

  • Prokaryotic cells, on the other hand, are smaller and usually seen in bacteria. 

  • Their genetic material is found as tiny circular DNA molecules known as plasmids or a single DNA loop, and they contain a protective cell wall, membrane, and cytoplasm.

Key Differences:

  1. Prokaryotic cells differ from eukaryotic cells in that they lack a nucleus, but prokaryotic cells do, and prokaryotic cells are often smaller. 

  2. Eukaryotic cells also tend to be more complex, with many specialized structures known as organelles.

Animal and Plant Cells

Plant Cells: Both plant and animal cells share certain components, including a nucleus, cytoplasm, cell membrane, mitochondria, and ribosomes.

 A cell wall, chloroplasts for photosynthesis, and a large central vacuole full of cell sap are extra features seen in plant cells.

Animal Cells: Animal cells, on the other hand, usually have smaller, transient vacuoles and lack chloroplasts and a cell membrane.

Cell Specialisation

  • Differentiation is the process by which cells become specialized to carry out particular jobs. 

  • Multicellular organisms can perform their tasks more effectively because of this specialization. 

Cell Differentiation

  • Plant cells can differentiate throughout their existence, but animal cells often do so early in development.


  • In comparison to optical microscopes, electron microscopes have greater magnification and resolution. 

  • An easy formula can be used to determine an object's magnification. There are several varieties of microscopes, and each has benefits and drawbacks.

Culturing Microorganisms

  • They can be cultured as colonies on agar plates or in nutrient solutions. 

  • Adequate measures are implemented, such as preserving a maximum incubation temperature of 25ºC within educational institutions, to impede the proliferation of detrimental microorganisms. 

  • To guarantee security and avoid contamination, aseptic methods are utilized.

Required Practical: Growth

  • Students can perform experiments to investigate the growth of germs and how antibiotics and disinfectants affect them.

Knowing how cells are put together and how they work to support life requires an understanding of cell architecture and activities. 

Students gain invaluable practical experience through projects like microscopy and microbiological investigations, which elevate their comprehension and admiration of life's intricacies.

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