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Conversely, there are also species in which there is no sexual specialization, and the same individuals both contain masculine and feminine reproductive organs, and they are called hermaphrodites. The reason for the evolution of sex, and the reason(s) it has survived to the present, are still matters of debate.
Some of the many plausible theories include: that sex creates variation among offspring, sex helps in the spread of advantageous traits, that sex helps in the removal of disadvantageous traits, and that sex facilitates repair of germ-line DNA.
The defining characteristic of sexual reproduction in eukaryotes is the difference between the gametes and the binary nature of fertilization.
Multiplicity of gamete types within a species would still be considered a form of sexual reproduction.
Individual organisms which produce both male and female gametes are termed hermaphroditic.
Gametes can be identical in form and function (known as isogamy), but, in many cases, an asymmetry has evolved such that two different types of gametes (heterogametes) exist (known as anisogamy).
In sexual reproduction, the genetic material of the offspring comes from two different individuals.
As sexual reproduction developed by way of a long process of evolution, intermediates exist.
Typically, prior to an asexual division, a cell duplicates its genetic information content, and then divides. In sexual reproduction, there are special kinds of cells that divide without prior duplication of its genetic material, in a process named meiosis.
The resulting cells are called gametes, and contain only half the genetic material of the parent cells.
Sexual reproduction is a process specific to eukaryotes, organisms whose cells contain a nucleus and mitochondria.