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What is the difference between mitosis and meiosis?

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Quick Answer

Mitosis is the process where one cell divides into two cells with the same number of chromosomes as the original cell, while meiosis is the process where one cell divides into four cells with half the number of chromosomes as the original cell. The processes have very similar steps. In humans, all cells undergo mitosis except the gametes, which undergo meiosis.

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Full Answer

Following are the steps involved in mitosis and meiosis:

  • Prophase: The nucleus is preparing to divide.
  • Metaphase: The chromosomes line up in the middle of the nucleus and are ready to be pulled apart.
  • Anaphase: The chromosomes are physically split and are moved away from the center.
  • Telephase: The processes that occurred in prophase are reversed, and the new cells are formed.

Meiosis consists of two nuclear divisions, which is needed for asexual reproduction. The division results in haploid cells called gametes, which is referred to as reduction division because the number of chromosomes is reduced by half.

All living things are made of preexisting cells, but before mitosis or meiosis can take place, the cell must duplicate its chromosomes and produce everything needed for cell division. This is accomplished during interphase, which is divided into the G1 phase, S phase and finally the G2 phase. Once a cell has gone through interphase, it will then undergo mitosis or meiosis.

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