What is Meiosis?
Meiosis is the process of cell division among reproductive cells. This process will then give rise to “gametes” in animals and “spores” in plants. Gametes are cells that combine together to form another cell as part of sexual reproduction.
In human reproduction, gametes contain the chromosomes and DNA that determines a child’s physical characteristics. During the cell division process, diploid cells will form into four germ cells that contain half of the original chromosomes. Diploid cells are those that have chromosomes from both the male and female parent. The result would be four haploid cells that have different sets of chromosomes.
Meiosis as a process has many stages. But before any cell division begins, the cells will undergo a growth period called “interphase”. It is at this phase that the cell will increase in mass and the DNA will start to synthesize. Prophase 1 follows, and this is where the coupling of homologous chromosomes happens. Methaphase 1 is next, and this involves the tetrads’ alignment to the cells equator. In Anaphase 1, the cells will start to lengthen. And in Telophase 1, a cleavage on the cell will become obvious as it starts to split. In Cytokinesis 1, cells are finally split with the same set of chromosomes for each one. When this first part of cell division completes, the resulting cells will undergo a repeat of Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, and Telophase with resulting cells that have half of the chromosomes after the first part of division. Cytokinesis II will be the final step of the process and this involves cell-splitting into four gametes.
Research continues on handling the process of meiosis in the hope that birth defects secondary to DNA problems may be avoided. But at present, there is no known method that can successfully manipulate the process of meiosis or alter the properties of basic DNA.