What Happens During the Cytokinesis Phase of Meiosis?

Cytokinesis is the final phase of cell division during meiosis, just as it is with mitosis, where the cytoplasm of two daughter cells is separated by a cell membrane or cell wall. In animal cells, this is accomplished by pinching the cell membrane closed with a ring of actin and myosin proteins, the same proteins that are used in muscle contraction. Plants instead build a cell wall between daughter cells.

Meiosis is the cell division process that results in the creation of gametes, which are dissimilar to their parent cells. This stands in contrast to mitosis, which creates daughter cells which are smaller versions of their parent cells. Meiosis also involves two cell divisions to complete, resulting in four daughter cells rather than two. Each of these two divisions is ended by cytokinesis.

Plants do not mechanically pinch the cytoplasm of daughter cells apart as animal and yeast cells do. They instead build a barrier between them out of microtubules and actin molecules. This grows outward until it encounters and fuses with the cell wall of the dividing cell, separating the cytoplasm. The cell wall and cell membrane are built on either side of this barrier, after which it is dissolved and the cells finally separate.