What Happens During Meiosis?

During meiosis, a cell divides into four daughter cells called gametes that are used during sexual reproduction. A cell grows larger during interphase, then goes through multiple other steps, such as prophase and metaphase, before finally dividing into four gametes.

The resulting gametes are eggs for females and sperm for males. Both plants and animals that sexually reproduce use meiosis. During interphase, DNA duplicates to create two bundles of identical groups of DNA. Following this, prophase I happens, in which the different groups of DNA strands cross over to create unique DNA strands for the daughter cells. The randomized chromosomes line up together then migrate to separate ends of the cell in anaphase I. Once separated, the cell breaks into two cells, completing the first phase of meiosis.

Meiosis II is similar to meiosis I, although the DNA strands separate but do not replicate. Then each of the new cells divides into two new daughter cells to create the final number of four total gametes. After the four cells finally separate, each one contains only half of the chromosomes the parent cell contained. This way, when a male and female gamete come together, the resulting embryo has the correct number of chromosomes.