Both mitosis and meiosis are types of cell division that share many similarities, and both share the same basic stages of prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago. Both begin with changes in the organization of DNA in the nucleus of a cell.
The first phase of cell division, prophase, begins with the condensation of chromosomes, after which they are visible under a microscope. The nuclear membrane then dissolves. During this time, in meiosis only, genetic recombination between homologous chromosomes occurs. Then metaphase begins for both types of cell division.
In metaphase, cellular machinery lines the chromosomes up along the middle of the cell. Then, during anaphase, half the genetic material of the cell is drawn toward each end of the cell. Finally, during telophase, the cell membrane contracts to split the cell in two, separating the two groups of DNA and forming two daughter cells. The nuclear membrane reforms in each new cell.
There are a few major differences between mitosis and meiosis. In mitosis, the genes are replicated before cell division, so each daughter cell receives a full set of genes. In meiosis, the genes do not replicate beforehand, so each daughter cell only receives half the genes of the parent cell.