Alternation of generations also known as metagenesis is the type of life cycle that occurs in those plants and algae in the archaeplastida and the heterokontophyta that have distinct sexual haploid and asexual diploid stages. Alternation of generations is a type of life cycle found in terrestrial plants and some algae in which subsequent generations of individuals alternate between haploid and diploid organisms this can be contrasted to sexual reproduction in animals in which both haploid and diploid cells are found in every generation. Alternation of generations also called metagenesis or heterogenesis in biology the alternation of a sexual phase and an asexual phase in the life cycle of an organism the two phases or generations are often morphologically and sometimes chromosomally distinct. Alternation of generations all plants undergo a life cycle that takes them through both haploid and diploid generations the multicellular diploid plant structure is called the sporophyte which produces spores through meiotic asexual division. Although alternation of generations initially referred to the alternation of sexual and asexual forms in animals the term is now almost exclusively associated with the life cycles of plants specifically with the alternation of haploid gametophytes and diploid sporophytes
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