Biological life cycle

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Biological life cycle
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File:Culex mosquito life cycle en.svg|thumb|Life cycle of a mosquitomosquitoFile:Babesia life cycle human en.svg|thumb|240px|Life cycle of the single-celled parasite BabesiaBabesiaIn biology, a biological life cycle (or just life cycle when the biological context is clear) is a series of changes in form that an organism undergoes, returning to the starting state. "The concept is closely related to those of the life history, development and ontogeny, but differs from them in stressing renewal."JOURNAL, Graham Bell, Vassiliki Koufopanou, yes, The architecture of the life cycle in small organisms, Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 1991, 332, 1262, 81–89, 10.1098/rstb.1991.0035, 55494, Transitions of form may involve growth, asexual reproduction, or sexual reproduction.In some organisms, different "generations" of the species succeed each other during the life cycle. For plants and many algae, there are two multicellular stages, and the life cycle is referred to as alternation of generations. The term life history is often used, particularly for organisms such as the red algae which have three multicellular stages (or more), rather than two.Dixon, P.S. 1973. Biology of the Rhodophyta. Oliver & Boyd. {{ISBN|0 05 002485 X}}Life cycles that include sexual reproduction involve alternating haploid (n) and diploid (2n) stages, i.e., a change of ploidy is involved. To return from a diploid stage to a haploid stage, meiosis must occur. In regard to changes of ploidy, there are 3 types of cycles:
  • haplontic life cycle — the haploid stage is multicellular and the diploid stage is a single cell, meiosis is "zygotic".
  • diplontic life cycle — the diploid stage is multicellular and haploid gametes are formed, meiosis is "gametic".
  • haplodiplontic life cycle (also referred to as diplohaplontic, diplobiontic, or dibiontic life cycle) — multicellular diploid and haploid stages occur, meiosis is "sporic".
The cycles differ in when mitosis (growth) occurs. Zygotic meiosis and gametic meiosis have one mitotic stage: mitosis occurs during the n phase in zygotic meiosis and during the 2n phase in gametic meiosis. Therefore, zygotic and gametic meiosis are collectively termed haplobiontic (single mitotic phase, not to be confused with haplontic). Sporic meiosis, on the other hand, has mitosis in two stages, both the diploid and haploid stages, termed diplobiontic (not to be confused with diplontic).


The study of reproduction and development in organisms was carried out by many botanists and zoologists.Wilhelm Hofmeister demonstrated that alternation of generations is a feature that unites plants, and published this result in 1851 (see plant sexuality).Some terms (haplobiont and diplobiont) used for the description of life cycles were proposed initially for algae by Nils Svedelius, and then became used for other organisms.{{Citation |title=Nils Eberhard Svedelius. 1873-1960 | author=C. Skottsberg | journal=Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society | year=1961 | volume=7 | pages=294–312 | doi=10.1098/rsbm.1961.0023}}Svedelius, N. 1931. Nuclear Phases and Alternation in the Rhodophyceae. In: Beihefte zum Botanischen Centralblatt. Band 48/1: 38-59. Other terms (autogamy and gamontogamy) used in protist life cycles were introduced by Karl Gottlieb Grell.{{Citation |title=Archaeal-eubacterial mergers in the origin of Eukarya: phylogenetic classification of life | author=L. Margulis | journal=PNAS | year=1996 | volume=93 | issue=3 | pages=1071–1076 | doi=10.1073/pnas.93.3.1071| pmid=8577716 | pmc=40032 }} The description of the complex life cycles of various organisms contributed to the disproof of the ideas of spontaneous generation in the 1840s and 1850s.Moselio Schaechter (2009). Encyclopedia of Microbiology. Academic Press. Volume 4, p. 85.

Haplontic life cycle

(File:Haploid English.svg|thumb|250px|Zygotic meiosis)A zygotic meiosis is a meiosis of a zygote immediately after karyogamy, which is the fusion of two cell nuclei. This way, the organism ends its diploid phase and produces several haploid cells. These cells divide mitotically to form either larger, multicellular individuals, or more haploid cells. Two opposite types of gametes (e.g., male and female) from these individuals or cells fuse to become a zygote.In the whole cycle, zygotes are the only diploid cell; mitosis occurs only in the haploid phase.The individuals or cells as a result of mitosis are haplonts, hence this life cycle is also called haplontic life cycle. Haplonts are: FIRST1 = R. E. FIRST2 = R. H., Identification of the meiotic division of malarial parasites, The Journal of Protozoology,

Diplontic life cycle

(File:Diploid English.svg|thumb|250px|Gametic meiosis)In gametic meiosis, instead of immediately dividing meiotically to produce haploid cells, the zygote divides mitotically to produce a multicellular diploid individual or a group of more unicellular diploid cells. Cells from the diploid individuals then undergo meiosis to produce haploid cells or gametes. Haploid cells may divide again (by mitosis) to form more haploid cells, as in many yeasts, but the haploid phase is not the predominant life cycle phase. In most diplonts, mitosis occurs only in the diploid phase, i.e. gametes usually form quickly and fuse to produce diploid zygotes.In the whole cycle, gametes are usually the only haploid cells, and mitosis usually occurs only in the diploid phase.The diploid multicellular individual is a diplont, hence a gametic meiosis is also called a diplontic life cycle. Diplonts are:

Haplodiplontic life cycle

(File:Diplohaplontic English.svg|thumb|250px|Sporic meiosis)In sporic meiosis (also commonly known as intermediary meiosis), the zygote divides mitotically to produce a multicellular diploid sporophyte. The sporophyte creates spores via meiosis which also then divide mitotically producing haploid individuals called gametophytes. The gametophytes produce gametes via mitosis. In some plants the gametophyte is not only small-sized but also short-lived; in other plants and many algae, the gametophyte is the "dominant" stage of the life cycle.Haplodiplonts are: Some animals have a sex-determination system called haplodiploid, but this is not related to the haplodiplontic life cycle.

Vegetative meiosis

Some red algae (such as BonnemaisoniaJOURNAL,weblink Somatic meiosis in the life history of Bonnemaisonia asparagoides and Bonnemaisonia clavata (Bonnemaisoniales, Rhodophyta) from the Iberian peninsula, Noemi, Salvador Soler, Amelia, Gomez Garreta, M., Antonia Ribera Siguan, 1 August 2009, European Journal of Phycology, 44, 3, 381–393, IngentaConnect, 10.1080/09670260902780782, and Lemanea) and green algae (such as Prasiola) have vegetative meiosis, also called somatic meiosis, which is a rare phenomenon.van den Hoek, C. et al. (1995), pp. 82, 453. Vegetative meiosis can occur in haplodiplontic and also in diplontic life cycles. The gametophytes remain attached to and part of the sporophyte. Vegetative (non-reproductive) diploid cells undergo meiosis, generating vegetative haploid cells. These undergo many mitosis, and produces gametes.A different phenomenon, called vegetative diploidization, a type of apomixis, occurs in some brown algae (e.g., Elachista stellaris).JOURNAL, Lewis, R.J., 1996, Chromosomes of the brown algae, Phycologia, 35, 1, 19–40, 10.2216/i0031-8884-35-1-19.1, Cells in a haploid part of the plant spontaneously duplicate their chromosomes to produce diploid tissue.

Parasitic life cycle

Parasites depend on the exploitation of one or more hosts. Those that must infect more than one host species to complete their life cycles are said to have complex or indirect life cycles, while those that infect a single species have direct life cycles.If a parasite has to infect a given host in order to complete its life cycle, then it is said to be an obligate parasite of that host; sometimes, infection is facultative—the parasite can survive and complete its life cycle without infecting that particular host species. Parasites sometimes infect hosts in which they cannot complete their life cycles; these are accidental hosts.A host in which parasites reproduce sexually is known as the definitive, final or primary host. In intermediate hosts, parasites either do not reproduce or do so asexually, but the parasite always develops to a new stage in this type of host. In some cases a parasite will infect a host, but not undergo any development, these hosts are known as paratenicSchmidt and Roberts. 1985. Foundations of Parasitology 3rd Ed. Times Mirror/Mosby College Publishing or transport hosts. The paratenic host can be useful in raising the chance that the parasite will be transmitted to the definitive host. For example, the cat lungworm (Aelurostrongylus abstrusus) uses a slug or snail as an intermediate host; the first stage larva enters the mollusk and develops to the third stage larva, which is infectious to the definitive host—the cat. If a mouse eats the slug, the third stage larva will enter the mouse's tissues, but will not undergo any development.File:Babesia life cycle human en.svg|thumb |Life cycle of the apicomplexan, BabesiaBabesia


The primitive type of life cycle probably had haploid individuals with asexual reproduction. Bacteria and archaea exhibit a life cycle like this, and some eukaryotes apparently do too (e.g., Cryptophyta, Choanoflagellata, many Euglenozoa, many Amoebozoa, some red algae, some green algae, the imperfect fungi, some rotifers and many other groups, not necessarily haploid).JOURNAL, Heywood, P., Magee, P.T., 1976, Meiosis in protists. Some structural and physiological aspects of meiosis in algae, fungi, and protozoa, Bacteriological Reviews, 40, 1, 190–240,weblink 773364, 413949, However, these eukaryotes probably are not primitively asexual, but have lost their sexual reproduction, or it just was not observed yet.JOURNAL, An Expanded Inventory of Conserved Meiotic Genes Provides Evidence for Sex in Trichomonas vaginalis, Shehre-Banoo Malik, Arthur W. Pightling, Lauren M. Stefaniak, Andrew M. Schurko, John M. Logsdon, Jr, yes, PLoS ONE, 2008, 3, 8, e2879, 10.1371/journal.pone.0002879, 18663385, 2488364, JOURNAL, Speijer, D., Lukeš, J., Eliáš, M., 2015, Sex is a ubiquitous, ancient, and inherent attribute of eukaryotic life, PNAS, 112, 29, 8827–8834, 10.1073/pnas.1501725112, 26195746, 4517231, Many eukaryotes (including animals and plants) exhibit asexual reproduction, which may be facultative or obligate in the life cycle, with sexual reproduction occurring more or less frequently.BOOK, Schön, I., Martens, K., van Dijk, P., 2009, Lost Sex: The Evolutionary Biology of Parthenogenesis, Springer, 9789048127702,weblink

See also

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External links

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