Prokaryotes are simple organism, with only one membrane and no internal compartmentalization. Prokaryotes, such as bacteria, propagate by binary fission. For unicellular organisms, cell division is the only method to produce new individuals. In both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, the outcome of cell reproduction is a pair of daughter cells that are genetically identical to the parent cell. In unicellular organisms, daughter cells are individuals. Binary fission is the major type of prokaryotic cell division.

Binary fission

Binary fission is an asexual mode of reproduction in prokaryotes.  In this process, parent cells copy their genetic material (chromosomes) and then divide — transforming into two daughter cells. Each new cell has one complete copy of the genetic instructions necessary for its survival. Because of the speed of bacterial cell division, populations of bacteria can grow very rapidly. The daughter cells are exact copies of the parent cell. Prokaryotic cell division is simple and a few step process.

Steps involved in the process of Binary Fission

  • Parent cell grows to its maximum size.
  • Parent cell duplicates its chromosome by the process called “replication”. These two replicated DNAs remain attached to the plasma membrane of the parent cell.
  • The cell then grows, increasing the distance between the two duplicated chromosomes.
  • In prokaryotes (bacteria and archaebacteria), a new cell wall, called a septum, begins to grow across the middle of the cell, dividing the parent cell into two parts. In amoeba, there is a development of a cleavage furrow that pinches the cell in half..
  • After the septum forms completely, the daughter cells completely separate, making each cell an independent unit.

    Diagrammatic representation of Binary Fission
    Figure 2. Diagrammatic representation of Binary Fission