Mitosis vs Meiosis: What Are the Main Differences?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: January 12, 2023
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One of the fascinating things about life is understanding what makes us, animals and humans alike, work. Beyond the outward physical attributes, there are more complex happenings within our cells that have helped experts in the field understand our existence better. Part of these complex happenings includes cell division which is further categorized into mitosis and meiosis. In this article, you will learn the differences between mitosis and meisosi, and what their importances are.

What is Mitosis?

Mitosis is a process of cell duplication during which one cell gives rise to two genetically identical daughter cells.

© Sarkar

Mitosis is a cell cycle stage in which chromosomes are split into two new nuclei. This process is studied under the umbrella of cell biology, a branch of biology that examines cells, how they are generated, and their roles. Even more specifically, mitosis is an asexual reproduction process in which freshly generated DNA is divided into two new cells, each having the same number and type of chromosomes as the parent nucleus. Chromosomes are parts of the cell that carry hereditary or genetic information, and these two identical cells are called daughter cells. Mitosis is critical for life since it generates new cells that can be used for growth and repair damaged cells.

However, mitosis only happens in eukaryotic cells. Eukaryotic cells are cells that have a nucleus, and this includes animals, plants, and other unicellular organisms. Prokaryotic cells are those without nuclei, and rather than undergoing mitosis, they undergo a separate process known as binary fission. To clarify the steps that make up the overall mitosis process and establish a schedule for each of these steps, mitosis is divided into several phases. These phases include the intecell’s, prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. Following telophase is cytokinesis, which is the process of dividing a cell’s cytoplasm into two daughter cells, indicating the conclusion of mitosis.

Mitosis is important for several reasons. The procedure aids in the renewal and restoration of worn-out and damaged tissues. Also, it aids in increasing the number of cells in a living creature, significantly contributing to the growth of a living organism.

What is Meiosis?

Meiosis is a type of cell division in sexually reproducing organisms that reduces the number of chromosomes in gamete.


In contrast, the process of meiosis decreases the number of chromosomes in gametes (the sex cells, or egg and sperm) in sexually reproducing organisms. This procedure, sometimes referred to as reduction division, aims to lower the number of chromosomes present in a cell before reproduction in eukaryotic, sexually reproducing organisms. Two rounds of division are necessary, and the end product is four cells with just one copy of each chromosome. To create four daughter cells in meiosis, which have half as many chromosomes as the initial parent cell, DNA replication is followed by two rounds of cell division. These rounds are categorized as meiosis I and meiosis II.

A diploid cell (a cell with two complete sets of chromosomes) undergoes meiosis I, which separates the pair of sister chromatids and turns it into a haploid (a cell with just a single set of chromosomes). This first part of the meiosis process is further divided into stages – prophase I, metaphase I, anaphase I, and telophase I. Each haploid daughter cell splits during the second meiosis stage. The primary reason for this second stage is the separation of each chromatid pair into two chromosomes, as there is no further drop in the number of chromosomes. The process of this second meiosis might seem similar to mitosis, but unlike mitosis, meiosis II results in the development of four haploid cells from the two haploid cells created during the first meiosis. Essentially, this second stage is all for separating the sister chromatids. Like the first meiosis, meiosis II also has four stages – prophase II, metaphageneration’sase II, and telophase II.

One of the most important functions of meiosis is that it is responsible for producing gametes needed for sexual reproduction. Additionally, the crossover during meiosis can aid in the future generation’s correction of genetic flaws. This recombination can substitute the unhealthy allele of one parent with the healthy allele of the other parent, resulting in healthy kids. In other words, if a genetic flaw is present in a specific allele of one parent, mixing and matching with the other parent during meiosis can prevent the said flaw from going to their offspring.

Mitosis vs. Meiosis

Meiosis only affects reproductive cells, while mitosis affects all the cells.

© Sarkar

Although mitosis and meiosis are important processes under cell division, there are still very significant differences between them. The primary difference between both is that meiosis occurs in animals that sexually reproduce, while mitosis is an asexual reproduction process. Mitosis happens in all eukaryotic species, including those that reproduce asexually, while meiosis only happens in eukaryotic creatures that reproduce sexually. Also, both processes serve different functions. Meiosis is involved with sexual reproduction and genetic variation, whereas mitosis is focused on cell formation, general growth, and the repair of damaged cells. As such, meiosis only affects reproductive cells, while mitosis affects all the cells.

Another difference is that the daughter cell in mitosis is identical to the parent cell, while that under meiosis is not identical to the parent cell. Also, mitosis results in the production of two daughter cells, while meiosis results in the production of four. Under meiosis, the affected diploid cell ends up as a haploid cell at the end of all the stages, while under mitosis, affected diploid cells do not change form and instead remain as diploid cells.

Despite all these differences, these processes also share certain similarities. The first one is that they both affect the cells of eukaryotic species and take place in the nuclei of the affected cells. There is also the additional factor that both processes influence daughter cells and concentrate on the generation of daughter cells using the genetic makeup of the parent cell. SinWhat’sh processes affect the cells of organisms, they are bound to affect DNA. Interphase, prophase, metaphase, telophase, and anaphase are the main stages of mitosis and meiosis, beginning with a diploid parent cell. Both processes of meiosis and mitosis also end in cytokinesis.

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What’s the Largest Cell In the Human Body?

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The Largest Single-Celled Organism in the World

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