Cell Division

There are two forms of cell division that you need to know about, mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis allows for growth and repair to occur and meiosis is the production of sex cells. 


Mitosis is a form of cell division which produces two identical diploid daughter cells for growth and repair. Differentiation occurs when cells become specialised. Mitosis occurs in a number of different stages, you can remember these stages by the phrase 'IPMATC', which stands for interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase and cytokinesis.

  1. Interphase - this is where the cell begins to divide.

  2. Prophase - this is where the DNA replicates and forms two identical copies of each chromosome.

  3. Metaphase - the nuclear membrane of the cell brakes down and the chromosomes line up along the equator (centre) of the cell.

  4. Anaphase - chromatids are pulled apart.

  5. Telophase - cell division begins.

  6. Cytokinesis - Two daughter cells are formed, each with 46 chromosomes.


Meiosis is the type of cell division that produces gametes. Human gametes are haploid – so their nucleus only contains a single set of 23 unpaired chromosomes. Meiosis produces four genetically different haploid cells. Unlike mitosis, meiosis is a reduction division – the chromosome number is halved from diploid (46 chromosomes in 23 pairs in humans) to haploid (23 chromosomes in humans).

Meiosis starts with a parent cell:

  1. Then chromosome makes identical copies of themselves.

  2. Similar chromosomes pair up.

  3. The sections of DNA get swapped.

  4. The pairs of chromosomes divide and then the chromosomes divide.

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