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Mitosis vs. Meiosis

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Comprehensive Overview and Differences

Mitosis is a cell division process that results in two daughter cells. Each of those cells has the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent nucleus. In other words, Mitosis is defined as a part of the cell cycle when replicated chromosomes are separated into two nuclei.

On the other hand, meiosis involves the process of two successive cell divisions and results in four daughter cells. Biologically, it is referred to as a special type of cell division that reduces the number of chromosomes by half. The process occurs in a sexually reproducing single-celled and multi cellular eukaryotes.

Defining Meiosis – An Extensive Overview

The concept of Meiosis is primarily based on the process where a single cell divides twice in order to produce four cells. It contains half the original amount of genetic information. These cells are also known as the sex cells; eggs in females and sperms in males. Meiosis can be divided into 9 stages. Here’s everything you should know about. Take a look.

The Stages of Meiosis

Figure 1: The Stages of Meiosis

Meiosis Stage 1

1. Interphase

  • The DNA in the cell is copied; as a result two identical full sets of chromosomes are produced.
  • There are two centrosomes outside of the nucleus, each containing paired centrioles, considered crucial for the process of cell division.
  • Microtubules extend from these centrosomes during interphase. 

2. Interphase:

  • The DNA in the cell is copied; as a result two identical full sets of chromosomes are produced.
  • There are two centrosomes outside of the nucleus, each containing paired centrioles, considered crucial for the process of cell division.
  • Microtubules extend from these centrosomes during interphase. 

3. Prophase I:

  • The copied chromosomes get condensed into X-shaped structures that are easily visible via microscopes.
  • Each chromosome is built with two sister chromatids that contain identical genetic information.
  • The chromosomes get paired up so that both copies of Chromosome 1 and 2 are together.
  • The pairs of chromosomes may then exchange small chunks of DNA in a process known as recombination or crossing over.
  • The membrane dissolves away at the end of the Prophase I, releasing the chromosomes.
  • The meiotic spindle that consists of microtubules and other proteins extends across the cell between the centrioles.

4. Metaphase I:

  • The pairs of chromosomes line up with each other along the centre or the equator of the cell.
  • The centrioles at the opposite polls will extend along with the meiotic spindle.
  • The meiotic spindles will now attach to one single chromosome of each pair.

5. Anaphase I:

  • The paired chromosomes are pulled apart by the meiotic spindle by pulling one chromosome to one pole and the other one to the opposite pole of the cell.
  • The sister chromatids in Meiosis I stay together, which is different from what occurs in Mitosis and Meiosis II.

6. Telophase I and Cytokinesis:

  • The chromosomes move to the opposite poles of the cells.
  • A full set of chromosomes gather at each pole of the cell.
  • A membrane is formed around each set of the chromosomes in order to produce two nuclei.
  • The single cell is pinched in the middle in order to form two separate daughter cells.
  • Each of them contains a full set of chromosomes within a nucleus. This process is known as Cytokinesis.

Meiosis Stage II

7. Prophase II:

  • There are two daughter cells, each having 23 chromosomes.
  • The chromosomes condense into visible X-shaped structures in each of the two daughter cells.
  • The membrane in each daughter cell dissolves away and releases the chromosomes.
  • The meiotic spindle is formed again as the centrioles duplicate.

8. Metaphase II:

  • The chromosomes in each of the two daughter cells line up end-to-end along the equator of the cell.
  • The centrioles are at the opposite poles in each of the daughter cells.
  • At each pole of the cell the meiotic spindle fibre attaches to each of the sister chromatids.

9. Anaphase II:

  • At this stage the sister chromatids are pulled to the opposite poles due to functionalities of the meiotic spindle.
  • The separated chromatids are individual chromosomes.

10. Telophase II and Cytokinesis:

  • The chromosomes shall now shift to the opposite poles of the cell.
  • A full set of chromosomes gather together at each pole of the cell.
  • Two new cell nuclei are created with the membrane forming around each set of chromosomes.
  • Another round of Cytokinesis completes the cell division.
  • There are four granddaughter cells, each with half a set of chromosomes.

Now that you are aware of the meiosis definition and the different stages involved in the process, let’s talk about the fundamentals of Mitosis.

Defining of Mitosis; A brief introduction

Mitosis is the cell division where the mother cell divides in order to produce two new daughter cells. These are genetically identical to one another. In this particular part of the cell division process, the DNA of the cell’s nucleus is divided into two equal sets of chromosomes. The majority of cell division that happens in our body involves the process of Mitosis.

It populates the organism’s body with cells. This particular process involves the replacement of old, worn-out cells with the new ones.

Mitosis consists of four basic stages; namely Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase and Telophase. Let’s delve deep into the fundamental aspects of each of the stages.

The 4 Stages of Mitosis

Figure 2: The 4 Stages of Mitosis

Stage 1: Prophase

Early Prophase: At the stage of early prophasethe cell tends to break down some structures and build up others. This, as a result, sets the stage for division of the chromosomes. The chromosomes start to condense and the mitotic spindle begins to form. Eventually, a part of the nucleus where ribosomes are created disappears. This is an indication that the nucleus is all set to break down.

Late Prophase: Also known as the Prometaphase, the mitotic spindle starts capturing and organising the chromosomes during the stage of Late Prophase.  The chromosomes are very compact as they finish condensing, and the nuclear envelope breaks down, releasing the chromosomes. Eventually, the mitotic spindle grows more with some of the microtubules beginning to capture the chromosomes.

Stage 2: Metaphase

This is one crucial phase where the spindle captures all the chromosomes and lines them up at the middle of the cell. At this stage, all the chromosomes align at the metaphase plate. The two kinetochores of each chromosome are attached to the microtubules.

Before advancing to the next stage of Anaphase, the cell will check and make sure that all the chromosomes are at the Metaphase plate with the kinetochores appropriately attached to the microtubules, a concept that students may seek further understanding of through resources like Microbiology Assignment Help.

Stage 3: Anaphase

At this particular stage, the sister chromatids separate from each other. They are eventually pulled towards the opposite ends of the cell. Here’s how the process works. Take note.

  • The chromosomes of each pair are eventually pulled towards the opposite ends of each cell.
  • The microtubules that are not attached to the chromosomes will now elongate and push apart. This, as a result, will separate the poles and make the cells longer.

It is to be noted that each of these processes is driven by motor proteins along the microtubule tracks. The motor proteins in Mitosis carry other microtubules and chromosomes as they walk.

Stage 4: Telophase 

As the cell in Telophase is almost done dividing, it begins to re-establish its normal structures as Cytokinesis occurs. Here’s how the entire process works.

  • The mitotic spindle is divided into building blocks.
  • Two nuclei are formed and the set of Nuclear membranes and Nucleoli reappears.
  • The chromosomes eventually begin to decondense as they return to their stringy forms.

Apart from knowing about the entire functionality of the different stages associated with the process of Mitosis, we shall also learn the difference between Mitosis and Meiosis.

How many cells are produced in mitosis?

There are ideally two cells created after the process of Mitosis with the same 46 chromosomes. However, the Haploid cells are generated through Meiosis, for example, egg and sperm having only 23 chromosomes.

Difference between Mitosis and Meiosis

When it comes to exploring the various fundamental aspects associated with the study of Mitosis vs. Meiosis, establishing well-defined points of difference between the two becomes crucial. Here’s everything one must consider.

The type of reproduction involved in Mitosis is asexual in nature. The type of reproduction involved in Meiosis is sexual in nature.
Mitosis is genetically similar. Meiosis is genetically different.
There’s no scope for crossing over to occur in Mitosis. Meiosis involves the process of mixing of chromosomes.
There is only one division. Meiosis involves two divisions.
There is no pairing of homologs involved. Meiosis involves the pairing of homologs.
The mother cells can either be haploid or diploid. The mother cells are always diploid.
Two diploid cells are produced during the process of Mitosis. Four haploid cells are produced during the process of Meiosis.
The number of chromosomes in Mitosis remains the same. The number of chromosomes in Meiosis is reduced to half.
Chromosomes pairing do not occur in Mitosis. Chromosomes pairing in Meiosis takes place during zygotene of the Prophase I up to Metaphase I.
Creates everything apart from sex cells. Creates female egg cells and male sex cells.
Mitosis takes place in somatic cells. Meiosis takes place in germ cells.
The spindle fibre in Mitosis disappears completely in telophase. The spindle fibre in Meiosis does not disappear fully in Telophase I.
Karyokinesis occurs in Telophase. Karyokinesis occurs in Interphase I
The duration of prophase is short in Mitosis. It is usually of a few hours. The duration of Prophase in Meiosis is relatively longer. It can take days to complete.
The centomeres divide during the stage of Anaphase. The Centomeres split during the stage of Anaphase I.

Table 1: Difference between Mitosis and Meiosis

Now that you know how is Meiosis different from Mitosis, take some time to recapitulate each of the points mentioned above for a firmer establishment of the entire concept. I hope the blog will add great values to your knowledge of Mitosis vs. Meiosis.

Good luck!

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Hi, I am Mark, a Literature writer by profession. Fueled by a lifelong passion for Literature, story, and creative expression, I went on to get a PhD in creative writing. Over all these years, my passion has helped me manage a publication of my write ups in prominent websites and e-magazines. I have also been working part-time as a writing expert for for 5+ years now. It’s fun to guide students on academic write ups and bag those top grades like a pro. Apart from my professional life, I am a big-time foodie and travel enthusiast in my personal life. So, when I am not working, I am probably travelling places to try regional delicacies and sharing my experiences with people through my blog. 

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