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• Principle: diploid to haploid
– Conservation of chromosome number in sexually
produced offspring
– Increase genetic variation
• Purpose:
– Gametogenesis
– Genetic variation
• Crossing over
• Independent Assortment
• Process of meiosis:
– Meiosis 1 =Prophase1, Metaphase1, Anaphase1, Telophase1
– Meiosis 2 =Prophase2, Metaphase2, Anaphase2, Telophase2
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• This division of the cell results in the daughter
cells having only half (haploid) the number of
chromosomes (n) as the parent cell.

• The parent is called diploid (2n) as it contains

the full complement of chromosomes (two
complete sets of chromosomes

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• In sexual reproduction, two sex cells (gametes)
are fused to form a single cell (zygote).

• To prevent zygotes from having too many

chromosomes, each gamete must contain only
half of the parental number of chromosomes.
This is ensured by meiosis.

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• Meiosis occurs in the formation of gametes;
sperm and ova in animals and spores, pollen,
ova in plants.

• At the end of meiosis, four haploid (n)

daughter cells are produced from one cell.

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Two cell divisions occur
• In the 1st meiotic division, prophase is very
different from that in mitosis.
• The 2nd division is very similar to mitosis.
• The process is continuous
• Symbols I and II are used to distinguish
between the first and second divisions.

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• All organisms have two sets of chromosomes –
one from the female and the other from the
• They both determine the same characteristics
having the same sequence of genes.
• They also appear alike having the same shape,
size and centromere position.

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• One of these pairs is the sex chromosomes
that determines the gender of the offspring.
• All other pairs are called autosomes.
• Chromosomes are duplicated before meiosis
starts. The centromere holds duplicates

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Meiosis I

First meiotic division (Reduction division)

Prophase I

• Duplicated chromosomes pair up in

homologous pairs.
• One member of each pair is a homologue.
• One homologue is the paternal chromosome
(duplicated) and the other the maternal
chromosome (duplicated)

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Meiosis I -Prophase I
Maternal Chromosome Paternal Chromosome

Centromere Centromere


Homologue Homologue
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Meiosis I -Prophase I
• The process of the homologous chromosomes
coming together is called synapsis.

• Each pair is called a bivalent but consists of a

four-stranded structure, ie 4 chromatids

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Meiosis I -Prophase I
• During synapsis, chromatids associate closely
so they can wrap around each other.

• Towards the end of prophase I they start

repelling each other, but remain joined at
points called chiasmata (chiasma – singular).

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Meiosis I - Prophase I
• At chiasmata breakage and rejoining can occur
so that portions of one homologue can end up
on portions of the other (crossing over).

• Spindle fibres form, centrioles if present

migrate to the poles, and the nucleolus and
nuclear membranes disappear

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Meiosis I - Prophase I


Chiasma Recombinant
Maternal Paternal
Chromosome Chromosome Chromatids

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Genes on
paternal and

Chromosomes Crossing over

1 from
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Meiosis I - Prophase I

Prophase I


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Meiosis I

Metaphase I
• Paired chromosomes (bivalents) line up at the
equator by their centromeres (two in this

• The way the members of the pair orientate

themselves is completely random and is not
influenced by the arrangement of the other
pairs - Independent assortment.
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Independent Assortment
• X and Y are alternative
arrangements of the
chromosomes at
• The arrangement
determines the
combination entering Y
different gametes.

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Genetic Variation in Sexual
• Main sources of genetic variation
– Crossing over in Prophase 1
– Independent assortment in Metaphase 1

• Genetic variation further enhanced by

– Random mate choice
– Many gametes produced
– Mutation when gametes are being produced
– Random fertilization after sexual reproduction

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Meiosis I

Metaphase I

Anaphase I

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Meiosis I
Anaphase I
• Pairs separate as they move to opposite poles
• Only one member of each homologue is
present at each pole.

• Note that each chromosome still has two

chromatids and the centromeres did not split.

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Meiosis I
Telophase I

• Chromosomes uncoil, nuclear

envelope reforms
• Spindle disappears
• Cytoplasm division occurs

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Second meiotic division

Meiosis II - Prophase II
Prophase II

• Nucleolus disappears, nuclear envelope

• Centrioles if present moves to the poles
• The poles are now at right angles to the
plane of the first division
• Spindle develops.

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Meiosis II

Prophase II

Figures 13-16 from -

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Meiosis II - Metaphase II
Metaphase II
• Chromosomes line up singly at the equator by
their centromeres attaching to the spindle

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Meiosis - Anaphase II
Anaphase II

• Chromatids separate and move to opposite


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Meiosis - Telophase II
Telophase II

• Chromosomes unwind and become indistinct

• Nuclear envelope and nucleolus reform
• Spindle disappears
• Cytoplasm division occurs. Four haploid cells
result at the end of the process

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Telophase II

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Overview of Meiosis

2n= 4 chromosomes
n= 2 chromosomes

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Meiosis - Importance
• The long term survival of a species is
dependent on its ability to adapt to an
environment which constantly changes.
• It has to be able to colonize a range of
• The offspring must therefore be different for
their parents as well as each other (variation)
to successfully colonize.
• Meiosis ensures that this occurs.
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Meiosis - Importance

1. Production and fusion of haploid gametes.

• The genotype of one parent is mixed with that

of the other when gametes fuse randomly.

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Meiosis - Importance
2. Genetic variation by random distribution of
chromosomes during metaphase I.

• When members of homologous pairs arrange

themselves at the equator of the cell, they do
so independently of each other and randomly.

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Meiosis - Importance
• So, which chromosome of a given pair goes to
which pole is unaffected by the behaviour of
the chromosomes in other pairs.

• New genetic combinations are produced in

this way

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Meiosis - Importance
3. Genetic variation by Crossing over
• During prophase I, equivalent portions of
homologous chromosomes may be exchanged,
that is, genes from female chromosomes can
exchange genes with chromosome from male
• New genetic combinations are produced and
linked genes can be separated.

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Meiosis - Importance
4.Meiosis is essential in evolution.

• A varied stock of individuals is produced, and

by natural selection, those best suited to
existing conditions survive.

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Meiosis - Importance
5.Meiosis ensures that at some stage in the life
cycle haploid gametes are produced.

• If this did not occur, the chromosome number

would double with every generation

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Mitosis - Meiosis comparison
Occurs in body/ somatic cells Germ cells (gametogenesis)

Single division Two successive divisions

Homologous chromosomes Homologous chromosomes
remain separate. pair.
Each chromosome consist of Each pair of homologous
2 chromatids). chromosomes consist of 4
chromatids (Tetrad).

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Mitosis - Meiosis comparison
No synapsis, chiasmata Synapsis, chiasmata formation
formation for exchange of occur for exchange of genetic
genetic material. material.
Each of the two daughter cells Each of the four daughter cells
will have the same number will have ½ the number of
of chromosomes as the chromosomes as the
parent cell. parent cell.
A diploid cell (2n) A diploid cell produces four
produces two diploid cells haploid cells (n) by a
by a mitotic division. meiotic division.

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