A quick biology question: Please help me briefly with describing the difference between mitosis and meiosis?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both mitosis and meiosis are involved in the separation of cells that already exist in order to form new ones; however, they differ in their processes and their resulting products which are a different class of cells. Whereas mitosis is a method of cell division that produces somatic cells, meiosis results in the production of germ cells that give rise to gametes.


  • has 1 cell division with one part of each chromosome being retained in each of two new cells resulting from the original cell.
  • is the only form of cellular reproduction in single-cell organisms
  • produces somatic cells (these cells are diploid; that is, they produce 2 copies of each chromosome--they are identical)


  • has 2 cell divisions and chromosome conjugation (conjugation = "the pairing of chromosomes in the early phase of meiotic division") 
  • produces germs cells, cells that give rise to gametes (these cells are haploid; that is, they have only 1 set of chromosomes. Haploid cells are vital to sexual reproduction)
sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mitosis is basically cell cloning.  If you have a muscle cell, and your body thinks that you need more muscle cells (like after working out), your muscle cells will undergo mitosis.  In order to do this, the original muscle cell will double everything it has inside of itself and then split in half.  This ensures that each of the two new cells (daughter cells) have all 46 chromosomes and other cell organelles.  You get two cells out of the deal, but they are identical. 

Meiosis produces sex cells.  If you're a male, then meiosis produces sperm.  Females produce eggs.  Meiosis is sometimes called reduction division.  The reason is that each sperm/egg has exactly half the number of chromosomes from what "normal" would be.  In humans, each sperm has 23 chromosomes and each egg has 23 as well.  That way, when sperm meets egg, the new embryo has 46 chromosomes (normal).  But it's always a never before seen combination of chromosomes.

Mitosis does not generally create genetic diversity.  Meiosis will.   

noonaa | Student


  1. Takes place in cells other than reproductive cells.
  2. The parent cell divides into two daughter cells.
  3. Each daughter cell has 2N number of chromosomes.
  4. Responsible for growth.


  1. Takes place in reproductive cells.
  2. The parent cell divided into four daughter cells.
  3. Each daughter cell has N number of chromosomes.
  4. Responsible for keeping the chromosome number same.
parama9000 | Student

Mitosis is a type of cell division that results in two daughter cells each having the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent nucleus, typical of ordinary tissue growth.

Meiosis is a type of cell division that results in four daughter cells each with half the number of chromosomes of the parent cell, as in the production of gametes and plant spores.

sharmamohk | Student

Mitosis is a process in which somatic cells divide to form identical cell. This process is termed 2n division. Diploid cells begin the process and at the end we have twice the original diploid cells. The daughter cells will be identical to the parent cells.

Meiosis refers to sex cell division. These cells are haploid (n) and at the end of the process we will obtain 4 haploid cells, while we began with 2. Two haploid sex cells an egg and a sperm will combine to form a diploid zygote. This diploid zygote will produce 4 haploid cells, with two daughter cells identical to the sperm and 2 daughter cells identical to the egg.

Mitosis can also be used for non-sexual reproduction in lower organisms, whereas meiosis can only be found in organisms that reproduce sexually.

The stages of mitosis are IPMAT, while meiotic stages are IPMATMAT.

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rachellopez | Student

Mitosis and Meiosis are both processes of cell reproduction. However, they have one large difference. Mitosis is the production of two daughter cells that are both identical to the parent cell. Meiosis also produces daughter cells, but instead of being identical, they only have half the number of chromosomes that the parent cell did.

ayl0124 | Student

The main thing to remember is that mitosis is asexual reproduction and needs one set of chromosomes, while meiosis is sexual reproduction and requires two sets of chromosomes. 

Mitosis produces identical cells with identical copies of DNA. Rather than new unique cells, duplicates or clones are the end product. 

Meanwhile, meiosis produces genetic variety in our world. Two parents' genetic information combine to create new unique haploid cells. 

kayvee | Student

Somatic cells (body cells) undergo Mitosis
Gametes (sex cells) undergo Meiosis

Attached is a simple table to summarise. 

(Note: IPMAT = Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase)

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steamgirl | Student

The difference between mitosis and meiosis is the product. Both are the process of one cell becoming two (in the case of mitosis), or 4 (for meiosis). Mitosis is the reproduction of your cells that have to do with keeping your own body functioning and healthy, meiosis is the production of sex cells that will be passed to the next generation. For this reason, each new cell that is reproduced in meiosis has a full copy of half your genetic code to be passed on. The link provided does a good job at putting it simply. 

guitardrummer90 | Student

Mitosis and meiosis are both processes by which cells can divide, but they serve different purposes.

Mitosis is the process of replicating cells with exactly the same DNA(genetic makeup). It consists of one cycle that has four phases;prophase,metaphase,anaphase, and telophase. Mitosis takes place in somatic cells of the human body(cells that do not give rise to gametes, or cells used in sexual reproduction). Mitosis aids in cell replacement in the body, organism growth, and asexual reproduction in some organisms. The result of mitosis is two daughter cells that are genetically identical and diploid(contains the same amount of DNA as the parent cell)

Meiosis serves the purpose to aid in reproduction by producing gametes(sex cells). Meiosis, unlike mitosis, is divided up into two cycles, Meiosis I and Meiosis II, with four phases each(prophase I&II,metaphase I&II,anaphase I&II,telophase I&II). In Meiosis I, the process of crossing over occurs in Prophase I as homologous chromosomes(chromosomes that have the same genes in the same locations) literally cross over to exchange genetic information, increasing genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is increased in Metaphase I while chromosomes separate and are moved to opposite poles(a process called independent assortment) since only one homologous chromosome will be sent to either side on the basis of orientation. These processes that allow for genetic diversity do not occur in mitosis. At the end of Meiosis I, there are 2 daughter cells but they are genetically different and are haploid(contain 1.5 the genetic information of the parent cell). Crossing over does not occur in Meiosis II, but independent assortment does occur as the daughter cells replicate their DNA and divide to produce four haploid daughter cells. These four daughter cells are the end result of Meiosis and can be utilized in sexual reproduction.

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