Arizona State University states that meiosis is how sexually reproducing organisms, including humans, produce gametes, or sex cells. Gametes are fundamentally different from the body, or somatic, cells of sexually reproductive organisms because gametes only have half of the genetic code in their nucleus. When two different gametes fuse and produce a zygote, their half-complements of genetic material combine to form a complete genome with the full complement of chromosomes.
By creating zygotes that blend the chromosomes of two different animals, humans can produce more diverse offspring. This helps ensure that each successive generation exhibits increasing diversity, according to Townson University, leading to greater success for the species. This is the case even if sexual reproduction and meiosis cause other costs. For example, it can be difficult and energetically expensive to attain reproductive mates.
In humans, males and females produce different sex cells, called sperm and ova, respectively. Arizona State University explains that despite the fact that the process by which both types of gamete are produced varies, the process of meiosis is largely similar for both genders. According to Clinton Community College, meiosis occurs in two divisions, named meiosis I and meiosis II. The individual steps involved in meiosis include prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase.