From the viewpoint of long-term population dynamics, asexual reproduction is only a certain form of vegetative growth. Instead of organisms increasing their body size and increasing the number of their sex organs, as, for example, trees do, through vegetative reproduction, they produce separate, independently viable, genetically identical copies of themselves. A population of genetically identical organisms is called a genet and the individuals forming a certain genet are called ramets. Under certain conditions, the independence of ramets is advantageous, for example in parasites it allows the genets of the parasite to occupy and utilize the entire body of the host organism without there existing any mechanical interconnection between the individual ramets that would otherwise disturb the integrity of the host organism.

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more