Parthenogenesis and mitosis as alternatives to sexual reproduction

A pregnant woman walked past me at lunch yesterday and as one does I began to consider alternatives to sexual reproduction. An article I read as a kid on an airplane in Scientific American (or something like that) about parthenogenesis in lizards – probably whiptail lizards, which have varieties that reproduce sexually and similar varieties that reproduce via parthenogenesis – really impressed me somehow, with how fascinating biology can be. It’s just extremely interesting. If humans reproduced parthenogenetically, society would be different. There would be no need for men, except maybe to explain things.

Mitosis – that would change things even more, though, socially. I assume. I’m not a real biologist. Like, imagine that with humans reproducing via mitosis, both men and women reproduce. People still have sex, but instead of one of them getting pregnant, they both go “uh-oh,” as they sense their nuclei dividing and then everything else.

How long would the process take? Nine months? Less? In the beginning, it wouldn’t be obvious and you’d go about your business unmolested, but eventually your buddies would be going, “dude how cute you’re mitosing! Who’s the lucky other parent?” You’d get real hungry because of all the energy this process would require and ultimately your shape would get weird as all the various necessary parts were distributed and you wouldn’t be able to work at all, except from home and towards the end it would be stranger and stranger looking, but then at the total end less strange, not one weird looking person, but two regular looking people.

But then what? What do you do about ID? Share it? Issue new ones with new names and birthdays? Do the two of you just go straight back to work, sharing all your previous knowledge? Or does just one go back to work, the other has to find a different job? Go back to school? And what about the relationship? Are the original two people now four people dating each other? Two couples? Does everyone start from scratch?

Question upon question.

Comments are closed.