Difference between Meiosis and Mitosis
Mitosis and meiosis are both processes in which single eukaryotic cells reproduce themselves into multiple cells. The processes of mitosis and meiosis, however, and the nature of the reproduced cells differ significantly between meiosis and mitosis. In this article we’ll introduce you to the basic concepts that show the difference between meiosis and mitosis.
The Functional Difference between Meiosis and Mitosis
The most important and obvious difference between meiosis and mitosis is the purpose of each process. Mitosis occurs within almost all the cells of the body in multicellular organisms. Cells that are reproduced by mitosis serve either as growth, or to replace cells that have died.
Mitosis is a routine process that occurs virtually throughout an organism’s life cycle. As you read this sentence, millions of your own cells are undergoing mitosis at an astonishing rate.
The main difference between meiosis and mitosis then, is that meiosis occurs only for the sake of reproduction. The purpose of meiosis is to produce gametes (such as sperm and eggs) for sexual reproduction. Gametes have only one set of chromosomes (as opposed to the normal one) and when two gametes merge they form a zygote and a new organism.
The Process Difference between Meiosis and Mitosis
The second most obvious difference between meiosis and mitosis are their specific methods and processes.
When looking for the difference between meiosis and mitosis, it becomes clear mitosis is a much simpler process than meiosis. Boiled down, mitosis is simply this: the cell grows to an appropriate size, duplicates all the necessary organelles and chromosomes then splits the two evenly between two identical new cells.
The difference between meiosis and mitosis is that in meiosis this becomes a two step process and significantly more complicated. meiosis begins similarly to mitosis, but instead of simply duplicating all its organelles and chromosomes and splitting them in between each other, as in mitosis, cells undergoing meiosis must undertake “crossing over” before they can finish the process.
To fully explain the difference between meiosis and mitosis and crossing over, remember that every diploid organism (Diploid organisms including you, me, all the animals, and most plants and fungi) has two sets of chromosomes. During crossing over, these two sets of chromosomes exchange parts so that two new sets of chromosomes are created, neither of which are completely identical to those of the parent cell.
The cell then splits apart, creating two new cells with a complete set of new chromosomes. After wards these two cells will split apart again, creating a total of four new cells, or gametes, each with half as many chromosomes as the parent cell. Remember, that one difference between meiosis and mitosis is that mitosis creates two new cells while meiosis creates four.
The main things to remember about the difference between meiosis and mitosis is that mitosis is a routine process while mitosis is only for reproduction, that meiosis involves crossing over, while mitosis does not, and that mitosis produces two daughter cells while meiosis produces four.