What is the Difference between Mitosis and Meiosis?

Mitosis and meiosis are two of the most common things taught in Biology. These are practically basic topics when learning about the science of life. But what is the difference between mitosis and meiosis? The two words sound the same and both deal about a similar thing, cells.

Both mitosis and meiosis deal with cells. Both are involved in the topic of cell reproduction. Without mitosis and meiosis, we would cease to exist as the cells are the building blocks of life. And if they can’t duplicate or replicate themselves, then we won’t be able to grow and procreate.

The difference between mitosis and meiosis now lies on the type of cells that they create. Mitosis deals with somatic cells, while meiosis works on germ cells. This is the major difference between the two processes. There are a lot more on how each process works.

Single-celled organisms can only perform mitosis. This is the only form of cellular reproduction for single-celled organisms. After a round of mitosis, two identical cells are formed. These cells have the same genetic make-up. In bacteria and other single-celled organisms, mitosis yields a completely new and independent organism. Mitosis is then classified as asexual reproduction for bacteria since there is no sexual intercourse done to produce a new organism.

For multi-cellular organisms like us, humans, mitosis still occurs within us but only for somatic cells. Most of our cells are somatic cells. And this is how we grow and how dead cells are replaced. But how we reproduce is different. We use meiosis with our germ cells (egg cells and sperm cells).

Meiosis results to 4 genetically distinct cells. And these cells are called haploid cells because they don’t have the complete set of DNA. They only have half of the DNA, thus the name. And in order for us, multicellular organisms, to reproduce, we need the other half from another organism. We need the egg and sperm together in order to form another organism.

Another difference between mitosis and meiosis is in the actual processes themselves. Mitosis only involves one division. The cell just divides into two through the following stages: interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, and cytokinesis. Meiosis, on the other hand, involves two divisions, meiosis 1 and meiosis 2. The first division leads to 2 daughter cells. After the second division, there are a total of 4 haploids. After the interphase, meiosis 1 begins with prophase 1, then metaphase 1, anaphase 1, and telophase 1. Then meiosis 2 begins. The cells undergo prophase 2, metaphase 2, anaphase 2, and telophase 2. The phases involved are similar to the phases in mitosis. They all basically have the same function.

Both processes involve in replicating DNA. Both aim to reproduce the genetic code that gives life to cells and organisms.

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