The Basics...

Meiosis is the division process a cell goes through to make gametes. Gametes are cells such as sperm, eggs and pollen that have half the normal chromosome count as normal body cells. For example, normal human body cells have 46 total chromosomes but sperm and egg cells each only have 23. That way, when a sperm and egg combine they will have a total of the normal 46 (23+23) and thus create a new person. Meiosis is a bit tricky because you can't just randomly divide the number of chromosomes in half, from 46 to 23. You have to make sure each sperm or egg gets the 'right' 23 chromosomes so that all of the organisms traits are accounted for. In order to accomplish this, and allow for more diversity, the cell undergoes two divisions. Therefore, one cell actually divides in two and then those two divide again to make four total daughter cells. Overall, one cell makes four daughter cells - each with half the normal chromosome count.

External Links

McGraw-Hill Meiosis Animation - this excellent animation walks you through meiosis.
Meiosis Quiz - another short animation with a quiz that follows.
Unique Features of Meiosis - view this short animation to understand what makes meiosis special. And then take the quiz on the same page.
Meiosis Animation - view this Cell's Alive animation to see the stages of meiosis.
Meiosis Quiz
Meiosis Tutorial and Practice Problems
Meiosis Practice Problems

Page last modified on Wednesday April 17, 2013 09:32:39 EDT