Q:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-pollination?

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Quick Answer

Self-pollination, also called open pollination, maintains the unique attributes of the representative species but does not offer protection against species extinction and may even cause a species harm by replicating diseases and viruses that are passed on to successive generations. Self-pollination ensures breed and species purity by ensuring that natural seeds are disseminated and repopulated.

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Full Answer

The benefits and drawbacks of open pollination are often contrasted to effects of cross-pollination or hybrid pollination, and each form of seed dissemination has its advantages and weaknesses. Plants that reproduce using self-pollination are significantly less expensive for gardeners and farmers to raise and cultivate year after year. Their seeds are carried by winds, birds and bees and regrow year after year without necessitating annual purchases. Self-pollinating plants also have predictable growth patterns and habitat needs. Some are annuals and others perennials, and growers know that each kind has individual watering, sunlight and soil needs. However, self-pollinating plants are not uniform in color and other characteristics, which might make them less appealing to consumers. They are also prone to negative impacts from disease and other environmental hazards, as a batch of infected or poor-quality seeds can make a species weak and may eventually cause the species to die out.

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