What are the differences between mitosis and meiosis?


Quick Answer

The two main differences in mitosis and meiosis are that meiosis involves only one cell division, not two, and meiosis results in the production of germ cells or cells that produce gametes. In mitosis, one round yields two genetically identical cells.

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Full Answer

Mitosis is a continuous process that is divided into four phases including prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase. These four phases along with interphase are referred to as the cell cycle. Prophase is the first stage when chromosomes shorten and become visible under a microscope. The spindle fibers move the replicated chromosomes to the middle of the cell during metaphase, and during anaphase the sister chromatids separate and move towards opposite poles of the cell. The last stage is telophase, when cytokinesis occurs.

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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