There are two ways cells divide and then multiply to form new cells. These processes can be referred to as methods of cell division or duplication. The two methods are known as mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis is asexual division of cells. Meiosis is sexual division of cells.
What is Meiosis?
Meiosis is a biological process in plants and animals, as well as in some microorganisms. The process leads to the division of the nucleus in a cell in organisms that are capable of sexual reproduction. Meiosis is pivotal to reproduction or procreation. There are two larger phases of meiosis that are referred to as Meiosis I and Meiosis II. Unlike mitosis, one cell doesn’t duplicate into two with the same set of chromosomes. Instead, the first cell duplicates, then the chromosomes are halved and two cells contribute half of their chromosomes to form the new cell.
The Process of Meiosis
In meiosis, there are a total of four stages. They are called prophase I, metaphase I, anaphase I and telophase I. The nucleus of a cell divides and leads to the production of haploid cells. Haploid cells are unlike the diploid cells as is the case in mitosis where the new cells have equal number of chromosomes as the mother or parent cell. In case of meiosis, there must be two cells in the beginning, both cells would halve the number of chromosomes and the nuclei of the two would get split leading to the formation of the two haploid cells. These haploid cells would then further lead to the formation of the new cell which will have the chromosomes of both the parent cells.
Meiosis Vs Mitosis
In mitosis, a cell lines up its chromosomes in the center, duplicates the nucleus and the chromosomes thus leading to the formation of two cells, both of which will have the same characteristics of the parent cell. In effect, the two new cells are identical to the parent cell. In meiosis, the new cell is not identical to either of the parent cells. The process is a reductionist one as compared to the duplicating method of mitosis.
Humans have sexual and asexual cells. Hence, we need meiosis and mitosis. Excluding single celled organisms that would only multiply by mitosis, all plants and animals rely on meiosis to reproduce. The cellular division inside plants and animals meant for cellular regeneration are done through mitosis while sexual reproduction or procreation is done through meiosis.