Mitosis and meiosis are biological functions that create cell division and enable reproduction. These two processes are similar in that they produce offspring cells, but differ in the type of cells they produce. While mitosis results in the generation of two identical daughter cells that originate from single parent cells, meiosis involves the fission of two nuclei, which produces four gametes.
Another key difference between mitosis and meiosis is that mitosis generally takes place in single-celled organisms, while meiosis is more commonly used in multi-cellular organisms. In single-celled organisms, mitosis is also involved in production and regulating the growth of tissues, fibers and membranes produced in the organisms’ bodies. Meiosis, in contrast, is used solely for the purpose of reproduction. This process enables male and female sex cells (also called gametes) to combine, which in turn results in an exchange and transfer of traits and genetic material. Meiosis ultimately results in the production of two new daughter cells, which are genetically and biologically distinct from their parent cells. Mitosis, in contrast, produces two new cells that are virtually identical to their parent cells in shape and structure. The two cells produced during meiosis are called haploid cells, while those produced via mitosis are called diploid.