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Mitosis vs Meiosis: 3 Key Differences

Published October 24, 2021

Mitosis and Meiosis are two processes of cell division. Mitosis is the process through which cells divide to produce two identical daughter cells, while Meiosis is a cell division process that produces four daughter cells, each with only half the number of chromosomes as the parent cell. This blog post will discuss three important differences between Mitosis and Meiosis: the difference in chromosome content, the difference in genetic diversity, and the difference in offspring sex ratio.

What is Mitosis?

Microscope Image of Cells in Different Stages of Mitosis
Microscope Image of Cells in Different Stages of Mitosis

In the first phase of mitosis, called Interphase, the cell grows and replicates its chromosomes so it has a complete set to be divided between each new daughter cell. The chromosomes condense during this stage as well so they can fit inside the nucleus.

Additionally, cellular organelles replicate themselves in interphase. The interphase is the in-between phase that happens. This is why it has the prefix 'inter'. Most of the studies don't actually count interphase as a phase of Mitosis even though it does have an important part to play.

The next cycle is the Prophase cycle which is further subdivided into early & late prophase(also called Metaphase). This is where chromosomes start to condense & are fully condensed by their later stage. It is then followed by Anaphase & Telophase during the end of which the chromosomes start to de condense.

What is Meiosis?

Microscope Image of the Final Result of Meiosis: Four Daughter Cells
Microscope Image of the Final Result of Meiosis: Four Daughter Cells

Unlike mitosis, the daughter cells of meiosis have half the number of chromosomes as the parent cell. One chromosome from each pair will be incorporated into one daughter cell and the other copy goes to another. This means that when a diploid germline cell (a type of unspecialized adult reproductive cell capable of developing into sperm or egg) goes through meiosis it produces four haploid gamete cells instead of two euploid offspring like mitosis does.

In this process, homologous pairs are separated so they end up going to different daughter cells. Sister chromatids separate during anaphase II then go on to form two new chromosomes The result is that each gamete cell has only half of the genetic information as the original parent cell. Making for four instead of two offspring with a total of 75% fewer chromosomes than were in their parents' diploid germline cells to begin with.

Differences Between Mitosis & Meiosis

The difference in chromosome content

The key difference is that one germ cell goes through mitosis and it produces two euploid offspring. One chromosome from each pair is incorporated into each daughter cell so the final number of chromosomes in the cells is equal to their parent's diploid state whereas meiosis results in four haploid gamete cells. Each with only half the genetic information than when compared to their parents' diploid germline cells at conception.

The difference in genetic diversity

The difference in genetic diversity means that because we have a reduction in the genetic material during Meiosis there will be less variation between generations due to segregation distortion. In other words, this reduces your chance of avoiding genetic diseases.

The difference in offspring ratio

The difference in offspring sex ratio means that because of the way Meiosis & Mitosis work there are also different probabilities when it comes to whether an offspring will be male or female. This has been proven by scientists who have worked out what factors affect each type of reproduction process. And how this affects your chances of getting either one or another due to chromosome segregation during gamete production being randomized through meiotic division.

Comparison Chart: Mitosis Vs Meiosis

Cell DivisionSingleDouble
No. of daughter cells24
Genetically same offspringYesNo
Cross overNoYes
ExamplesEvery organismPlants & Animals

Similarities between Mitosis & Meiosis

Both processes are driven by the same stages of Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase & Telophase. This means that both cycles have similar internal structures but they do not produce exactly the same results when it comes to what you end up with at the final stage. This is due to how Meiosis has some extra steps in place compared to Mitosis which also contributes towards this difference in outcome even though there are many similarities between these two main types of cell division!


What is the purpose of Mitosis?

Mitosis is the process that cells use to divide. It has a number of different stages as do all cell divisions and it also requires input from other parts of the body such as hormones & enzymes in order for this process to work properly.

What is the purpose of Meiosis?

The purpose of meiosis is that gametes or sex cells which are much smaller than regular parent cells can be produced by reducing chromosome numbers through two rounds of division instead of one round like mitosis does. This means only 50 % of the genetic material ends up going into each daughter cell.

How many times can Mitosis occur before cell death?

There is no limit to how many times Mitosis can occur in a lifetime. However, the number of times it occurs depends on what type of cell you are talking about and where that particular one happens to be located within your body. For example, skin cells are constantly being replaced so they have limited lifespans whereas nerve cells will last for much longer due to not getting destroyed as often!

Is Mitosis a form of Meiosis?

No, mitosis is not considered to be part of meiosis because it produces diploid cells rather than haploid cells.


There are some clear differences in the Mitosis vs Meiosis processes but they both have an important part to play when it comes to genetic diversity within species & ensuring future generations can exist so they must work together! This means that even though there are key differences, one cannot function without the other due to how nature works on balancing out all life forms through natural selection.


Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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