How does mitosis and meiosis work in very simple terms? Whats the difference between them?


How does mitosis and meiosis work in very simple terms? Whats the difference between them?

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Mitosis copies and then halves the genetic material of the cell, so one mother cell creates two identical daughters. Meiosis is more complicated because the genetic material ‘recombines’, meaning the two copies of each chromosome (one from mom, one from dad) line up next to each other and physically exchange equivalent pieces. Then each daughter cell gets only one of the two copies ( haploid, instead of diploid as with mitosis).

Humans and a lot of other organisms are diploid, which means we have 2 copies of each chromosome and each gene on that chromosome.

Mitosis is the most common form of cell division, and it results in each of those chromosomes being duplicated, so each of the 2 cells created still has 2 copies of each chromosome. This is how we produce every cell except for our gametes, our sex cells.

In meiosis the chromosomes are not duplicated, and each of those games only gets a single copy. This way when they merge together as a zygote they have the proper amount of copies to produce a normal functioning organism.

Mitosis is a direct copy, like a photocopier. One cell becomes two cells, genetically identical to each other.

Meiosis is more like a split. Take a box of toys and split it between two children; the resulting piles will be half the size and have different toys in them. The resulting cells are not quite complete, because they only have half the genetic material (toys) needed.

Mitosis happens in most cellular growth, because the resulting cells are complete and capable of living on their own. Meiosis happens in sexual reproduction, where you want two people/parents to contribute some genetic material to the child/offspring. One half-cell from each parent combine to form a single whole-cell, ideally with a unique combination of genetic material (put two piles of toys together to make a single, unique pile). This whole cell is then capable of living and reproducing (via mitosis) to become its own organism.