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Spore, a reproductive cell capable of developing into a new individual without fusion with another reproductive cell. Spores thus differ from gametes, which are reproductive cells that must fuse in pairs in order to give rise to a new individual. Spores are agents of asexual reproduction, whereas gametes are agents of sexual reproduction. Spores are produced by bacteria, fungi, algae, and plants.
Bacterial spores serve largely as a resting, or dormant, stage in the bacterial life cycle, helping to preserve the bacterium through periods of unfavourable conditions. Spore production is particularly common among Bacillus and Clostridium bacteria, several species of which are disease-causing. Many bacterial spores are highly durable and can germinate even after years of dormancy.