Meiosis and mitosis are both types of cell division that are essential for reproduction and growth. Meiosis is a specialized form of cell division that produces gametes, or sex cells, while mitosis is the type of cell division that produces somatic cells, or cells that make up the body.
Meiosis involves two successive cell divisions, meiosis I and meiosis II. During meiosis I, homologous chromosomes, or chromosomes that carry the same genes, pair up and exchange genetic material. This process, called crossing over, increases genetic diversity. In meiosis II, the cell divides into four daughter cells with half the number of chromosomes as the parent cell.
Mitosis, on the other hand, is a simpler form of cell division that produces two daughter cells with the same number of chromosomes as the parent cell. During mitosis, the chromosomes do not exchange genetic material.
In summary, meiosis is a specialized form of cell division that produces gametes and involves two rounds of cell division, while mitosis is a simpler form of cell division that produces somatic cells and involves one round of cell division.