Difference between MITOSIS and MEIOSIS - Summary and Schematics

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Within the amazing and enigmatic world of genetics, two processes stand out, both because of their importance within the proper functioning and survival of living beings, and because of their extreme complexity. We talk about mitosis and meiosis. Both biological processes have been studied and analyzed for centuries, with the intention of better understanding how cell reproduction works. There are many concepts and processes responsible for differences between the phases of mitosis and meiosis, but thanks to the publications and microscope images collected by multiple genetic studies, these curious biological processes are now easier to access. Continue reading this Green Ecologist article to discover the difference between mitosis and meiosis.

Difference between mitosis and meiosis - summary

The main difference between the processes of mitosis and meiosis is determined by the function that each process performs, being mitosis the division of the nucleus of any cell of an organism (somatic cells), necessary for the growth and renewal of said cells; while meiosis It is carried out only and exclusively by the cells involved in the reproduction process, with the objective of exchanging genetic information between the nuclei of two sex cells of different organisms and thus increasing the genetic diversity and survival of the species.

For this reason, the type of cell as well as the number and type of chromosomes or genetic material that are involved in these processes of cell division is also different. This is the difference between mitosis and meiosis regarding the types of cells involved:

  • Mitosis: a short-lived process involving haploid (n) cells with unpaired chromosomes.
  • Meiosis: long process involving diploid cells (2n) with paired chromosomes.

On the other hand, this is the difference between mitosis and meiosis regarding their outcome:

  • Mitosis: after a single cell division, two new daughter cells genetically identical to the mother cell are obtained, since the exchange of genetic information between chromatids has not occurred.
  • Meiosis: after undergoing two fissions of the nucleus, the original cell gives rise to four final gametes (sex cells), each having half the number of chromosomes that the original cell contained. In addition, these new four cells have different genetic information, since during the meiosis process they have undergone a genetic exchange, called crossing over.
Image: Biogeo4esoccs

Similarities between mitosis and meiosis - summary

Although they are different processes, both mitosis and meiosis share a series of similarities. Within the similarities between mitosis and meiosis the following stand out:

  • Its function as a process of division of the cell nucleus. Thanks to both biological phenomena, living beings guarantee their survival, on the one hand, through the growth and maintenance of their own cells and tissues thanks to mitosis and, on the other hand, by guaranteeing diversity and genetic balance between species, thanks to the action of meiosis providing genetic diversity in gametes.
  • In addition, the existence of the processes of mitosis and meiosis is universal, occurring with a greater or lesser frequency in all eukaryotic living beings that exist on the face of the Earth.

What is mitosis - definition and phases

Mitosis is the biological process by which somatic cells of living eukaryotic organisms divide their cell nucleus and with it, the genetic information they have. In this way, living organisms guarantee their survival, thanks to the correct growth and maintenance of all their cells. Both the cells of animals and those of plants, fungi and eukaryotic microorganisms carry out the surprising process of cellular mitosis.

To get a equitable sharing of DNA or genetic material, these are the phases of mitosis:

  1. Interface
  2. Prophase
  3. Metaphase
  4. Anaphase
  5. Telophase

The end result of mitosis is obtaining two daughter cells with identical genetic information, both between them and with respect to the stem cell. Thus, mitosis constitutes a asexual reproduction process, in which no more than a single stem cell is involved. You can expand this information a bit further with the example of Plants with asexual reproduction: characteristics and examples.

What is meiosis - definition and phases

Meiosis is the responsible process par excellence of guarantee genetic diversity among individuals of the same species. This amazing biological process is necessary to carry out the sexual reproduction between organisms of different sex. In this way, meiosis is responsible for producing the male (sperm) and female (ovules) sex cells necessary for sexual reproduction and the creation of new individuals genetically different from their parents.

During the complex genetic process of meiosis two successive divisions of the nuclei of the cells are carried out, so that the process is long and entails the realization of the following stages of meiosis:

Meiosis I

  • Prophase I
  • Metaphase I
  • Anaphase I
  • Telophase I

Meiosis II

  • Prophase II
  • Metaphase II
  • Anaphase II
  • Telophase II

After the division and exchange of genetic material, the four cells resulting from the meiotic process are characterized by being haploid (a single copy of the genetic material) and having a varied and enriched new genetic information.

Now that you know the difference between mitosis and meiosis well, here we leave you information about the Similarity and difference between animal and plant cells and What are unicellular and multicellular living beings.

If you want to read more articles similar to Difference between mitosis and meiosis, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

  • Murray, A. & Szostack, J. (1995) Chromosome segregation in Mitosis and Meiosis. Annual Review of Cell Biology. Volume 1, pages 289-315.
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