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

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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...

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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.   

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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.

Mitosis

  • 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)

Meiosis

  • 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)
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