What's the difference between meiosis and mitosis?

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ncchemist | eNotes Employee

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Mitosis and meiosis are both forms of cell division whereby one cell becomes two or more separate cells.  Mitosis occurs in somatic cells (non-sex cells) that make up most of the cells in a eukaryotic organism.  It is generally divided into 4 different phases: prophase, anaphase, metaphase, and telophase.  After the DNA in the cell is replicated into identical sets of chromosomes, the separate sets of chromosomes are separated into two new separate nuclei and the cell divides in half to produce two new cells each with the same 23 pairs of identical chromosomes.  So one cell becomes two identical cells.

Meiosis is used for the division of sex cells (called gametes).  There are two main differences between meiosis and mitosis.  The first is that the newly produced chromosomes are "mixed" in that they are not identical copies but different combinations of DNA.  The second is that there are two division events, thus producing four cells instead of two like mitosis.  Each of the four new cells are called haploid since they have half the number of chromosomes as in a normal cell (23 versus 46 for humans).  This is because when the sperm and egg gametes join in sexual reproduction, they form a new cell with 46 total chromosomes (half from the mother and half from the father), thus mixing the DNA from two different organisms. 

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atyourservice | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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meiosis and mitosis

in mitosis the reproductions of the cells ends up with cells that are exactly identical to its parent cell.

mitosis is used during sexual reproductions where the parents chromosomes (23 each) are joined together to form a diploid with 46 chromosomes and the cell made is mixed instead of identical to its parent cell

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