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What is the difference between mitosis and binary fission?

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Quick Answer

Both mitosis and binary fission are types of cell division, but mitosis occurs in cells with a nucleus (eukaryotic cells) while binary fission takes place in cells that lack a nucleus (prokaryotic cells). Mitosis is a more advanced and complex process than binary fission.

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Full Answer

A cell is the basic unit of life. Every living organism is comprised of least one cell. Cells reproduce through a process called cell division, in which a parent cell divides into multiple new cells called daughter cells.

Binary fission takes place in single-celled organisms such as bacteria and archaea. As with mitosis, a cell’s genetic material is duplicated before division in binary fission. The process starts with a single cell DNA molecule that splits into two identical copies that attach to the cell membrane. The membrane then starts to grow between the two DNA copies until it pinches inward. A cell wall then develops between the two copies and ultimately divides the original cell into two.

Mitosis entails two main processes that occur over four stages. The first process is the alignment of the chromosomes, which is required for an orderly division. The second process is the separation of the daughter cells from each other.

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