Mitosis, Meiosis & Binary Fission: Exploring The Types Of Cell Division

The most basic units of life are cells. Every single living organism will be made up of one or more cells. Cells copy their genetic information to reproduce.

Mitosis, Meiosis & Binary Fission: Exploring The Types Of Cell Division

They will also undergo cell division, which is the term used to describe the process by which a parent cell will beget daughter cells. 

There are many types of cell division, they are meiosis, mitosis, and binary fission. 

However, while these are all types of cell division with similarities, there are some key differences between them.

In this article, we will explore the different types of cell division and their similarities and differences, and more! So, if this is of interest to you, then read on! 

The Different Types Of Cell Division 

Let’s explore the different types of cell division in further detail!

Exploring Cell Division: Binary Fission 

First, we have binary fission. Binary fission happens in prokaryotes (of archaea and bacteria.) The nucleoid also called genetic material inside the cells can be found in a circular chromosome of the DNA. 

Just like with eukaryotes, the cell’s genetic material will be duplicated prior to the division. 

The plasma membrane has two chromosomes attached to it, and these will move apart when the prokaryote lengthens.

When the copies of both the replicate and the original chromosome have separated, the cell will divide. The term for this process is “Cytokinesis.” 

The two cells that result from this will be identical. However, in the case of mutations, they will not be identical. 

Exploring Cell Division: Eukaryotes 

Eukaryotic cells can be complicated. This is because they have more organelles than prokaryotic cells. 

There are four key phases when it comes to the cell cycle. This cell cycle has the responsibility of planning and developing the eukaryotic cells. 

All of the necessary steps for eukaryotic cell reproduction can be found within this cycle. 

Here are the four phases of this cell cycle:

  • G1: In this phase, cells will prepare for the next stage, the synthesis phase. To do so, they will ensure that all the necessary materials for the synthesis of DNA are present. 
  • S Phase: In this phase, The DNA will be replicated so the daughter cells will have the full chromosome set when the cycle is complete. 
  • G2: In this phase, the growth of the cell continues. The aim of this phase is to prepare for meiosis and mitosis by ensuring that all the necessary raw materials are present for physical separation. 
  • M Phase: In this phase, the process of mitosis will start. The cells will separate into two new cells. 

Cells will spend around 90% of their time in the first three stages of this cycle. This is known as the interphase stage. 

Exploring Cell Division: Mitosis

Exploring Cell Division: Mitosis 

The next type of cell division we will explore is mitosis. Mitosis is the term used for the process that sees the formation of identical daughter cells through both the original replication and replication of chromosomes. 

For example, if the parent cells are diploid cells, then the daughter cells will also be diploid cells. 

When mitosis happens, the replicated chromosomes will be situated in the cytoplasm, typically in the middle of the cytoplasm. They will be separated in order for the daughter cells to access a copy of the DNA. 

Spindle fibers, also known as microtubules, help to make this possible. These microtubules will pull the chromosomes into every cell. 

The centrioles are the source of the fibers. They are present on either side of every cell. Sometimes, they even have smaller microtubules, which are also known as aster. These are theorized to be the “braces” for the fibers to help with their functioning. 

Mitosis: Prophase 

During the process of prophase, also known as the first mitosis phase, the nuclear envelope will begin to dissolve. Then, the spindle fibers will start to form and the chromosomes will start to coil.

The centrosomes will divide and will begin to migrate to the sides of the cell. 

As well as the breakdown of the nuclear envelope, the kinetochore microtubules will interact, or look like they are interacting, with the polar microtubules found within the spindle fibers. 

This causes the chromosomes to move.

Mitosis: Metaphase 

Next, we have the metaphase. Here, the centromere will hold together the chromatids which make up the chromosomes.

The chromosomes will migrate to the spindle fibers’ equator, and will then be in line with one another on a plane. After this process, the kinetochore fibers will become attached to the spindle fibers. 

Mitosis: Anaphase 

Next, we have the anaphase stage of mitosis. Here, the centromeres will separate, and because of this separation, the chromatids will also separate.

This causes the number of chromosomes to double. These new chromosomes will then start to move towards the cell’s poles. 

Mitosis: Telophase 

During this stage, the chromosomes reach the poles within their spindle fibers. Now, the chromosomes will begin to uncoil and the nuclear membrane will appear. 

The cells will begin to divide into two when the spindle fibers start breaking down. These cells will begin to develop into different adults. This phase will pass the two cells into the aforementioned interphase stage. 

Mitosis: Interphase 

Let’s explore the interphase in more detail. During the process of interphase, the cell will copy its chromosomes (DNA) exactly while it gets ready for division. Because the chromosomes at this stage are uncoiled, they will not be visible easily. 

Exploring Cell Division: Meiosis

Exploring Cell Division: Meiosis

The next type of cell division we will explore is called meiosis. Meiosis happens during the production of eggs and sperm in those who are able to reproduce sexually. During meiosis, the chromosomes will be reduced by half. 

During this stage, the sperm will fertilize the egg, and the resulting zygote will have a full set of chromosomes. Any cell that is involved in the process of meiosis will divide twice, also known as meiosis 1 and meiosis 2.

The parent cell (diploid, 2n) will result in four haploid cells (n), also known as gametes. 

But what exactly is the difference between meiosis 1 and meiosis 2? Well, meiosis 1 is also called the reduction phase, while meiosis 2 is also known as the division phase.

Unlike in mitosis, during meiosis any two chromosomes that are in a homologous pair line up (known as synapsis), this resulting pair is known as a bivalent. 

Meiosis: Interphase 

The interphase process for meiosis is exactly the same as it is for mitosis, but it is also followed by two cell divisions. 

Meiosis 1 – Prophase 1

During prophase 1 of meiosis, chromosomes will condense and then attach to the nuclear envelope. Synapsis happens next, which results in the forming of tetrads. Tetrads are composed of four chromatids.

Genetic material may cross over during the synapsis process, because the chromosomes thicken and consequently, become detached from the nuclear envelope. 

Just like with mitosis, the centrioles of meiosis will move and migrate to the poles. While this is happening, the nucleoli and the nuclear will start to break down. 

Meiosis 1 – Metaphase 1

During this phase, the tetrads will line up at the metaphase plate. The homologous chromosomes’ centromeres will then go to either side of the cell poles. 

Meiosis 1 – Anaphase 1

Here, the chromosomes will begin to move to the cell’s opposing poles. The kinetochore fibers and microtubules will move and interact with each other.

Unlike mitosis, the sister chromatids will stay together even though the homologous chromosomes move to opposite poles in the cells. 

Meiosis 1 – Telophase 1

During the telophase stage of meiosis, the spindle fibers will keep moving the homologous chromosomes to the cell’s poles. After this, the poles will have a haploid number of chromosomes.

The spontaneous occurrence of cytokines may also happen during this stage. Additionally, during the telophase 1 stage of meiosis, two daughter cells will form.

These daughter cells will contain half the number of chromosomes when compared to the parent cell. 

Meiosis 2 – Prophase 2

During prophase 2, the nuclear members and the nuclei will break. Then, the spindle fibers will appear. After this has occurred, the chromosomes will begin to move to the cell’s equator. 

Meiosis 2 – Metaphase 2 

During this stage of meiosis, the chromosomes will become aligned in the metaphases’ second plate, which is located at the center of the cell. Then, the kinetochore will point to the poles of the cell opposite. 

Meiosis 2 – Anaphase 2

Here, the sister chromatids will divide. After this process has been completed, they will move to opposite cell poles. 

Meiosis 2 – Telophase 2

During telophase 2, nuclei will be distinct and start to form at the opposite cell pole. Cytokines will begin to occur.

Then, when this phase of meiosis 2 has finished, there will be four daughter cells in total. Every one of these daughter cells will have half the number of chromosomes when compared to the original parent cell. 

Exploring Cell Division: Cancer Cell Division 

Cancer is usually a disease that stems from mitosis. The typical checkpoints that are in place with the purpose of regulating mitosis are overridden by cancerous cells, which eventually result in cancer in individuals. 

Here, single cells will change from normal cells to cancerous ones. This is because of the function changes in many genes that help control growth in the body. 

Cancer cells usually pay no attention to the regular growth density-dependent inhibition. They will multiply after having contact with other cells. Then, they will pile up until the nutrients in your body become exhausted. 

So, when it comes to researching and understanding cell division, scientists and researchers have grown to understand cancers. The result of this is targeted forms of treatment to help people fight cancer.

These new, targeted forms of treatment are constantly being assessed and enhanced. 

How Are Mitosis And Meiosis Different From One Another? 

Mitosis and meiosis are two types of cell division that are very similar to each other. They both happen in the eukaryotic cells, and both will result in the creation of cells.

However, meiosis results in four sex cells while mitosis will result in two identical daughter cells. 

Here are some more examples of the differences between mitosis and meiosis: 

  • Mitosis only involves one cell division, while meiosis involves two. 
  • Mitosis results in two daughter cells, while meiosis produces four. 
  • Mitosis results in daughter cells (diploid) while meiosis results in daughter cells (haploid) 
  • With mitosis, the daughter cells will be genetically identical to one another, while the daughter cells that are a result of meiosis will be genetically different from one another. 
  • Mitosis occurs in all things, with the exception of viruses. Meanwhile, meiosis will only occur in plants, animals, and fungi. 
  • The prophase of mitosis is much shorter than the prophase of meiosis. 
  • Also during the prophase stages, there is no crossing over of chromosomes during the mitosis prophase stage, but there is during the meiosis prophase stage. 
  • During the metaphase stage of mitosis, the chromosomes will align individually against the equator. However, during the metaphase 1 stage of meiosis, the chromosomes will line up in pairs along the equator. 

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! There are three types of cell division: binary fission, mitosis, and meiosis. All of these types of cell division play a very important role in achieving their respective goals. 

Mitosis is the most common form of all of the types of cell division we have explored today. It is important for the repairing and growth of cells.

This is because cells wear out and need to be replaced on a regular basis. Mitosis is also important when it comes to the growth and repair of damaged tissue. 

Meiosis happens in eukaryotes and is a very unique type of cell division. Meiosis is vital for gamete formation. Gametes are important when it comes to reproduction, which in turn is important for the continuation of species. 

The cell division of simple organisms like bacteria is known as binary fission. Binary fission is a type of asexual reproduction that allows organisms to continue. However, it is important to note that this is not the only type of asexual reproduction. When it comes to understanding the division of cells, researchers have grown to understand how cancers are formed. This has resulted in new, targeted forms of treatment that are constantly being assessed and enhanced. 

We hope this article tells you everything you need to know about the different types of cell division and shows you the importance of exploring and understanding these types of cell division when it comes to researching and fighting disease.

Jennifer Dawkins

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