Binary fission and mitosis are both asexual forms of cellular reproduction that duplicate the existing DNA in a mother cell and split the cell into two exact copies called daughter cells. Prokaryotes and some eukaryotic organelles use binary fission in the nucleiod. Eukaryotes use mitosis to reproduce the nucleus.
All cellular reproduction depends on a process that does more than manage the replication of genetic material. Control mechanisms need to ensure equal distribution of DNA and cellular components to new cells. Binary fission uses a simple bipolar filament to segregate newly created DNA to opposite sides of the prokaryotic cell. Mitosis involves a complex spindle structure to separate the daughter nuclei structures.
Cytokinesis, the means by which the cell splits into new cells, must be tailored to meet the needs of particular structures. In prokaryotes, new cell membranes grow at a contracting ring midway between the poles and pinch in to create two cells. In eukaryotic animals, a cleavage furrow forms at the centriole and pinches the cell membrane in half. In eukaryotic plants, a cell plate develops which becomes a new cell wall and divides the cell.
Lateral gene transfer introduces genetic variation in organisms reliant on asexual reproduction. In archaea, reproduction appears to bridge the gap between asexual and sexual reproduction.