Members of the archaebacteria kingdom reproduce asexually by binary fission or recombination through conjugation or fragmentation. Transference, the process by which bacterial viruses pass genetic material between hosts, may occur between archaea and its viruses.
Binary fission occurs when a cell's single DNA strand replicates, and both the original and the new strand attach to the cell membrane that lines the outer wall. The membrane grows between the two strands, eventually pinching in from the point of new growth. The external cell wall grows along with the membrane until the archaea is split into two identical organisms called daughter cells. In most cases, this is a gradual process, but some archaea use snapping division, in which the daughter cells snap apart after about two minutes of rapid vibration. Some archaea use the bacterial fission mechanism with more advanced DNA replication found in the eukaryotes. There are many variations of budding and fragmentation mechanisms used by the archaea.
The archaea kingdom was discovered in the early 1970s. Scientists believe the archaea are more closely related to eukaryotes, to which humans belong, than they are to bacteria. Archaea exist in the most severe environments on Earth. They thrive near volcanoes and in hot springs, salty seas, sewage and the extreme cold of the ocean floor.