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Biology: Mitosis vs. Meiosis

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About this Lesson

  • Type: Video Tutorial
  • Length: 9:25
  • Media: Video/mp4
  • Use: Watch Online & Download
  • Access Period: Unrestricted
  • Download: MP4 (iPod compatible)
  • Size: 101 MB
  • Posted: 02/10/2009

This lesson is part of the following series:

Biology Course (390 lessons, $198.00)
Biology: Final Exam Test Prep and Review (42 lessons, $59.40)
Biology Review (19 lessons, $27.72)
Biology: Cell Reproduction - Mitosis and Meiosis (16 lessons, $23.76)
Biology: Meiosis (5 lessons, $8.91)

In this lesson, mitosis and meiosis are compared in terms of DNA replication, the number of divisions, the presence of synapsis, the number of daughter cells, and the numbers of chromosomes in the products and function. This lesson is a good overview of both meiosis and mitosis, and explanation of why they are important and an analysis of how they are similar and different. Professor Wolfe reiterates, "Meiosis->Gametes; Mitosis->Everything Else."

From a similarity standpoint (between meiosis and mitosis), in both: DNA is replicated and the process consists of phases (prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase). On the flip side, Meiosis and Mitosis differ along the following dimensions: number of divisions (1 for mitosis and 2 for meiosis), synapsis is only a characteristic of meiosis (in prophase I), the number of daughter cells produced varies (4 non-identical haploid cells in meiosis and 2 identical cells in mitosis), the number of chromosomes in resulting cells varies (2N in mitosis to match the original parent cell and only N in meiosis as the resulting cells are haploid), and the function/objective of the processes vary (somatic cells are produced via mitosis and gametes are produced by meiosis).

Taught by Professor George Wolfe, this lesson was selected from a broader, comprehensive course, Biology. This course and others are available from Thinkwell, Inc. The full course can be found at http://www.thinkwell.com/student/product/biology. The full course covers evolution, ecology, inorganic and organic chemistry, cell biology, respiration, molecular genetics, photosynthesis, biotechnology, cell reproduction, Mendelian genetics and mutation, population genetics and mutation, animal systems and homeostasis, evolution of life on earth, and plant systems and homeostasis.

George Wolfe brings 30+ years of teaching and curriculum writing experience to Thinkwell Biology. His teaching career started in Zaire, Africa where he taught Biology, Chemistry, Political Economics, and Physical Education in the Peace Corps. Since then, he's taught in the Western NY region, spending the last 20 years in the Rochester City School District where he is the Director of the Loudoun Academy of Science.

Besides his teaching career, Mr. Wolfe has also been an Emmy-winning television host, fielding live questions for the PBS/WXXI production of Homework Hotline as well as writing and performing in "Football Physics" segments for the Buffalo Bills and the Discover Channel.

His contributions to education have been extensive, serving on multiple advisory boards including the Cornell Institute of Physics Teachers, the Cornell Institute of Biology Teachers and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics SportSmarts curriculum project. He has authored several publications including "The Nasonia Project", a lab series built around the genetics and behaviors of a parasitic wasp.

He has received numerous awards throughout his teaching career including the NSTA Presidential Excellence Award, The National Association of Biology Teachers Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for New York State, The Shell Award for Outstanding Science Educator, and was recently inducted in the National Teaching Hall of Fame.

About this Author

Thinkwell
Thinkwell
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11/13/2008

Founded in 1997, Thinkwell has succeeded in creating "next-generation" textbooks that help students learn and teachers teach. Capitalizing on the power of new technology, Thinkwell products prepare students more effectively for their coursework than any printed textbook can. Thinkwell has assembled a group of talented industry professionals who have shaped the company into the leading provider of technology-based textbooks. For more information about Thinkwell, please visit www.thinkwell.com or visit Thinkwell's Video Lesson Store at http://thinkwell.mindbites.com/.

Thinkwell lessons feature a star-studded cast of outstanding university professors: Edward Burger (Pre-Algebra through...

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Recent Reviews

Nopic_tan
overview
02/13/2011
~ Sabrina7

Iam currently taking a continuation to beginning bio. Believe me I have alot of confusion between mitosis vs meiosis. This video was so helpful in explaining the difference.I plan to use this site to get me through the semester.

Nopic_dkb
Excellent Video
12/11/2010
~ Jose16

Hello,
My name is Monica and I live in Belgium (Europe). Eventhough I study Biology in frensh I have fully understood this meiosis vs. mitosis video.
I am going to countinue watching these excellent videos for my upcomming exam.
Thank you !

Nopic_orng
Mitosis, Meiosos.
03/05/2010
~ Chanel

He didn't go into depth... what about all the organelles? where do they go? What about HOW exactly the DNA is replicated... thats what I was looking for. I suppose it may be good for someone else because he speaks in a way that is easily understood but for me it wasnt useful.

Nopic_blu
Smiles
09/23/2009
~ Jared

I just watched this as a review for a physiology class. I have taken a semester of genetics already and had this stuff down pat but it has been awile since I have used the info. This was an excellent review and in ten minutes I feel like i can remember so much from my last class. Great teacher. I wish he had stuff to cover all my review needs!

Nopic_orng
Mitosis vs Meiosis
04/06/2009
~ thomisha

Great insight, easy and fast learning skills.

Nopic_tan
overview
02/13/2011
~ Sabrina7

Iam currently taking a continuation to beginning bio. Believe me I have alot of confusion between mitosis vs meiosis. This video was so helpful in explaining the difference.I plan to use this site to get me through the semester.

Nopic_dkb
Excellent Video
12/11/2010
~ Jose16

Hello,
My name is Monica and I live in Belgium (Europe). Eventhough I study Biology in frensh I have fully understood this meiosis vs. mitosis video.
I am going to countinue watching these excellent videos for my upcomming exam.
Thank you !

Nopic_orng
Mitosis, Meiosos.
03/05/2010
~ Chanel

He didn't go into depth... what about all the organelles? where do they go? What about HOW exactly the DNA is replicated... thats what I was looking for. I suppose it may be good for someone else because he speaks in a way that is easily understood but for me it wasnt useful.

Nopic_blu
Smiles
09/23/2009
~ Jared

I just watched this as a review for a physiology class. I have taken a semester of genetics already and had this stuff down pat but it has been awile since I have used the info. This was an excellent review and in ten minutes I feel like i can remember so much from my last class. Great teacher. I wish he had stuff to cover all my review needs!

Nopic_orng
Mitosis vs Meiosis
04/06/2009
~ thomisha

Great insight, easy and fast learning skills.

Cell Reproduction
Meiosis
Mitosis vs. Meiosis

I would be, once again, completely remiss if I just left you guys hanging and didn’t really put this together as a
comparison between mitosis and meiosis. You know, I have been teaching a few years and one of the things that I
have really tried to puzzle through, is how to get around the confusion you guys are feeling about mitosis and meiosis,
and so I am going to make up a little list here and then we are going to image mitosis and meiosis and take a look at
that list and make sure you got the comparison down. And if you can do this comparison, then you are going to be
okay for mitosis and meiosis.
All right, here are the things I want to talk about. Number one, I want to talk about DNA replication, good start, I
spelled DNA wrong – DNA replication. Okay we want to talk about that. Okay, I’m not going to give away any
answers yet. Two, we want to look at the number of divisions in mitosis versus meiosis. Number three; we want to
look at this idea of synapsis. Number four; we want to look at the idea of the number of daughter cells that we get.
See, nice little rogues gallery of things that may or may not be different. Number five; we want to look the
chromosome number of the products. And number six, we want to look at function. And just because I put that
number six, does not mean it is the least important. In fact, it in many ways it is where you should be beginning your
comparison. Because remember why you do meiosis, to make gametes. Meiosis, gametes, mitosis, everything else.
Meiosis, gametes, mitosis, everything else.
You can even forget the mitosis and everything else, just remember meiosis, gametes, and the rest kind of falls into
place. Because the key is, if you know that you are making gametes and you know that gametes are sex cells, then it
is logical to remember that there better be half the number of chromosomes, and so this whole idea of meiotic division
comes out – the purpose is to get to one-half, while keeping my chromosomal integrity, so to speak, and making sure
that I have a full set of genes in one daughter cell and a full set of genes in the other. That’s what it is all about.
See if I can save this, without destroying too much here, and we will come back to it. Now, there is a cell. Now I have
kind of shown you the chromosomes in a non-native way, in the sense that I want you to image that there is enough
DNA sitting in the cell right now, before mitosis, to have the equivalent of four chromosomes, or before meiosis. In
other words, the DNA hasn’t replicated. I want to take you through the first step, and I want take a look at what is
going to happen with this cell as we go through – which one? Look. Mitosis.
Okay, let’s take a look at mitosis of this cell. All right, first thing that happens, is it doubles. Is that any different than
meiosis? Let’s see. Happen to have meiosis right here. Same cell and the first thing that happens is, it doubles. So
for our first thing we are worrying about, DNA replication, number one, yes to both, yes to both. It happens in mitosis,
check, and it happens in meiosis, check. DNA replicates. What is the second thing? The number of divisions, we will
get to that, that is at the end. Let’s take a look at what happens next. In mitosis we see no rhyme or reason in
prophase the chromosomes have simply doubled. They are all over the place. Then with meiosis a very important
thing happens. We get synapsis. In other words, we get the chromosomes coming together in homologous pairs, all
right? So, indeed, we have in meiosis and our question about synapsis, in mitosis, no, but in meiosis, yes, very
important, the single most important event of meiotic prophase.
Let’s see what happens next. Now we are going to see that, indeed, we get a metaphase, but mitosis is going to be
different than meiosis. If you look at the mitotic metaphase – look at these four chromosomes, one, two, three, four all
lined up on the equator, whereas here, the homologous pairs line up. What are homologous pairs? Remember,
homologous pairs are chromosomes that are going to control the same traits, or to say it another way; they contain
genes that are going to control the same traits.
So, here, we have this idea of the metaphase is the same, in the sense that you, indeed, line up your chromosomes,
but here you line them up in a single file, here you line them up in a double file. How important is that? It is very
important in the sense that, let’s go to the next phase in mitosis where we are going to be done.
We are going to go through anaphase and telophase, and when we get to telophase, look what we have. I am going
to do a comparison here; I am going to move this. Here was my original cell. There are my two daughter cells. What
do you notice? Well, what you notice is the two daughter cells are identical to the cell we started with.
So, we are done with mitosis, but we are not done with meiosis. Why not? Because even though we split and just
line them side by side, there is a first division here, you will notice that because we added this step where we had to
separate the homologs, we are now at a step where we have separated the homologs, but the chromosomes are still

doubled, and they are very much like they were up in the top of mitosis, except now, they’re still doubled, so we have
to put them through, still one more division. And so, we are going to go through again and illustrate all the phases.
The prophase two, the metaphase two, the anaphase two, and the telophase two, but you know what, if you look right
here, there is my final products of meiosis. Let’s compare them to the final products of mitosis and to my original cell.
Indeed, they are different. Indeed, whereas my original cell had four chromosomes, the meiotic products each have
two. I have shown you a little crossing over there, because we don’t want to neglect that, but the bottom line is, there
is a difference in chromosome number.
So, you got all this? Let’s do our little comparison chart, which I promised you guys that I would write again.
Let’s go to DNA replications. DNA replications, we’ll do mitosis – meiosis. DNA replication, yep to both. Number of
divisions, in mitosis one, in meiosis two. Synapsis, the moving of homologous pairs together, mitosis no, meiosis you
bet, yes. The number of daughter cells, mitosis two, meiosis four. What about the chromosome number? The
chromosome number, I am going to use N’s and 2N’s here. In meiosis we have the basis N, but in mitosis we have
the same number as the parent cell, 2N.
And last but not least, last but definitely not least, function. Function, mitosis, symatic cells, skin cells, liver cells, brain
cells, bone cells, blood cells everything except gametes. What is so special about gametes? What have you
accomplished by meiosis? You have accomplished this feat, you have made sure that each of your cells has half the
normal number of chromosomes, and yet, you can have a paternal half and a maternal half, so that when fertilization
occurs, you have the offspring with a full set of chromosomes. It literally is crucial to sexual reproduction.

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