The two cell division of mitosis and meiosis have run our species since the beginning of time. It is the cornerstone of our biological pattern and features. But how do they differ? If we already had mitosis, why do we have meiosis? What is the purpose of meiosis? We will provide the answers to these questions below.
Meiosis is one of the major types of cell division. It takes place in bodies of both humans and plants as long as the hosting cell is eukaryotic. Unlike mitosis, it generates four daughter cells instead of two daughter cells. The resulting cells carry unique features which are different from those of their mother cell.
Its most remarkable characteristic is that it halves the total number of chromosomes inside a cell. Thus, meiosis plays a great role in the healthy reduction of chromosomes in the body.
Meiosis serves a number of crucial purposes for the human body or any other body it occurs in.
Some of them are described below:
1. Healthy Chromosome Reduction
In the literal sense, the word meiosis translates as “lessen”. In biology, it does pretty much the same. Through meiosis, the total number of chromosomes in the mother cell becomes half. If the original cell or mother cell has four chromosomes, the two resulting daughter cells receive two chromosomes each.
The mother cell with four chromosomes is called a diploid cell because it has a double set of chromosomes. Similarly, the daughter cell is called a haploid cell since it has a single set of chromosomes.
Keeping the balance of chromosomes in the body bears high significance. If this balance is lost, the body can fall victim to many painful and long-term health conditions. This is why meiosis is an indispensable part of the body routine.
2. Germ Cell Production
As we described above, meiosis is the reason behind the production of haploid cells from diploid cells. These are the cells which in turn help with the production of germ cells.
Germ cells, also known as gametes or reproductive cells, later combine through sexual reproduction and develop zygotes. So to summarize, the humans exist as a species partly because of meiosis. This process has kept the reproduction process going for years. It is the reason why we get to see such beautiful babies coming into our families.
3. DNA Distribution
Due to the process of meiosis, the children bear unique characteristics through unique DNA combinations. People born in the same clan exhibit different features in both physical and behavioral variations because of meiosis. It manipulates the underlying DNA signatures in different ways during its recombination stage. This variation goes deeper when the gametes combine during fertilization process. As a result of meiosis, we get to see such diversity in the human population across the planet.
4. Chromosome Number Conservation
Because of meiosis, the number of chromosomes in human species stays the same. If the number went any fewer or larger, our features as a species would change. The mother cells of meiosis are diploid in nature and so are the zygotes produced from sexual reproduction. This keeps the total number of chromosomes constant in human evolution.
The complicated process of meiosis takes place in our body on a regular basis. It happens in both male and female bodies in the reproductive tissue. So often we forget how significant it is for our survival and continuity as a species.
Meiosis, however, keeps at its job no matter what stage of human evolution it is or how many billions of years have passed by. It keeps humans and all other sexually reproductive organisms expand their families.