What Is The Purpose Of Meiosis And Why Is It Important? 

Meiosis is a Greek term that means “to divide.” It is used to describe the decline in the amount of chromosomes within a cell. 

Within eukaryotic cells (animals, fungi, and plants), meiosis is a chromosomal reduction process that results in the generation of gametes/sex cells required for sexual reproduction. 

What Is The Purpose Of Meiosis And Why Is It Important

To create germ cells or spores, a double pair of diploids is confined to a single pair of chromosomes (haploid) during meiosis. 

The resultant zygote is a diploid when these two join in sexual reproduction.

Through sexual reproduction, the species’ chromosomal number is preserved in this way.

This article will discuss the process of meiosis and why it is important to human life. 

Why Is Meiosis Important?

A sperm cell and egg cell will both have 46 chromosomes if a human with n = 46 chromosomes or two sets of 23 chromosomes reproduces without chromosomal reduction. 

When these combine to form one gamete, a zygote (embryo) will contain 92 chromosomes – which is more than double the number required!

The infant would develop genetic defects as a result of this. 

Consider what would happen if this child had a baby with 92 chromosomes and they had a child with 184 chromosomes!

This number would continue to rise. As a result, chromosomal shrinkage is required for each species’ survival.

The chromosomes inside the cell nucleus undergo replication before meiosis occurs.

This is due to the fact that meiosis generates four daughter cells, each having half of the parent cell’s chromosomes. 

Remember that diploid and haploid refers to the chromosome number in a cell: haploid cells have one pair of chromosomes, whereas diploid cells have two sets. 

As you can see, the arithmetic isn’t quite right: before division can occur, the parent cell should first be turned to a tetraploid cell. 

As a result, cells containing 46 chromosomes will be transformed into cells with 92 chromosomes, which will create four cells containing 23 chromosomes following meiosis.

Meiosis starts in the same way as mitosis does. All chromosomes split into sister chromatids during chromosome replication.

The similarities, however, end there. Crossing over is a process that occurs during meiosis. 

Recombination occurs when chromosome pairs fall in line and recombine, resulting in one chromosome containing a fragment of the other.

Genetic variety is guaranteed in this way.

Recombination is used in meiosis to create four haploid cells that are not homologous to the diploid parent cell nor to each other.

The Meiosis Phases

Meiosis is divided into two segments, or divisions, each with multiple periods. The phases are outlined below:

Meiosis I

Prophase I 

The condensing of chromatin to visible chromosomes, subsequent synapsis of chromosomes within every homologous pair, and the transferring of genetic information in between synapsed chromosomes comprises three key events of prophase I. 

Leptonema, zygonema, pachynema, diplonema, and diakinesis are the five separate phases of prophase I.

Leptonema

This stage, also referred to as the leptotene stage, is marked by condensation of chromatin into visible chromosomes.

The search for homology begins.

Zygonema

The zygotene stage is another name for this stage.

The hunt for homology proceeds, with homologous chromosomes creating bivalents after rough pairing. The synaptonemal complex starts to take shape.

Pachynema

This stage, also called the pachytene stage, sees a synaptonemal complex among homologous chromosomes of bivalents develop further, leading to synapsis.

It is apparent that each bivalent comprises two sets of sister chromatids at this stage. 

One pair’s sister chromatids contain nonsister chromatids to another pair’s sister chromatids.

The four chromatids constitute a tetrad when they are all together. Genetic material crosses across or recombinates among pairs of nonsister chromatids.

Diplonema

The diplotene stage is another name for this stage. The sister chromatid pairs start to split.

Nonsister chromatids maintain contact at chiasmata (singular chiasma), which are the sites of genetic exchange during crossing over.

Diakinesis

Chromosomes separate even more, but nonsister chromatids’ chiasmata keep them connected.

The chiasmata move towards the extremities of the chromatids as a result of separation, a process called  terminalization. 

Before getting in line on the metaphase plate, the nuclear envelope with nucleolus degrade, and also the centromeres of every chromosome link to spindle fibres.

Tetrads are formed by chromosomes that are still in pairs.

Metaphase I

This phase is analogous to mitosis’ metaphase.

The chromosomes are aligned by the spindle fibres linked to each tetrad’s centromere, with one part of each tetrad pointed towards each pole.

Anaphase I 

The chromosomes will not break into sister chromatids during anaphase I, but every tetrad is divided into its chromosomal pairs (dyads). 

Disjunction is a process that pulls these to opposite poles.

Anaphase concludes with an equivalent number of dyads at every pole as the parent cell’s haploid number.

Telophase I 

Telophase I is reached in some organisms, and then a nuclear membrane develops surrounding the dyads at either pole before a brief interphase period.

Other creatures bypass telophase I and go straight to meiosis II.

What Is The Purpose Of Meiosis And Why Is It Important

Meiosis II 

We’ll go over the second meiosis stage in the same way we went over the first.

Prophase II

A centromere connects sister chromatids to produce dyads. These are located in the cell’s centre.

There is no requirement for chromatic material to condense or nuclear membranes to dissolve.

Metaphase II 

The dyads are aligned at the metaphase by spindle fibres linked to the centromere for every sister chromatid, with one part of the dyad facing each pole.

Anaphase II

Each sister chromatid’s spindle fibres shrink, and each is dragged to the opposite pole of the cell.

Telophase II 

Chromatids are found near the cell’s poles. A nuclear membrane is created around every set of chromosomes during cytokinesis, and the cell splits into two cells containing haploid numbers of chromosomes. 

As a result, four haploid gametes are generated, which can now reunite to create a zygote during sexual reproduction.

The complexities of meiosis can sometimes be bewildering, therefore we’ve outlined some crucial facts from both phases below. 

During recombination, the tips of homologous chromosomes from every parent are exchanged.

As a result, each homologous chromosome pair has a small amount of the other.

A chiasma is the location where chromosomes exchange material.

What Is The Significance Of Meiosis In Biology?

Meiosis is crucial for three reasons: it permits diploid creatures to reproduce sexually, it allows for genetic variety, and it aids in the correction of genetic abnormalities.

1. Allows Diploid Organisms To Reproduce Sexually

As previously stated, meiosis allows diploid cells to be reduced to haploid gametes that can subsequently be recombined with other haploid gametes in order to form a diploid zygote.

2. Allows For Genetic Variety

In meiosis, the cross over or combination of genes reconfigures the alleles found within every pair of homologous chromosomes, allowing father and maternal genes to be mixed and expressed in the subsequent offspring. 

This allows for genetic variability in a species, which acts as a buffer against genetic flaws, disease susceptibility, and environmental changes. 

The genetic pool of species would stagnate without this recombination, and a single occurrence may wipe off an entire population. 

Genetic variety indicates that certain people within a group will be better equipped to withstand habitat loss, a shift in food availability, changes in weather patterns, and diseases.

3. Assists In The Correction Of Hereditary Flaws

Meiosis-induced recombination may also aid in the correction of genetic abnormalities in subsequent generations.

If one parent’s allele has a genetic flaw, recombination can replace it with the robust allele of another parent, resulting in healthy offspring.

Summary

Meiosis is a chromosomal reduction process that allows for the formation of haploid germ cells, which are required for sexual reproduction.

Meiosis is also significant because it facilitates the correction of genetic errors through recombination and allows for genetic diversity.

Meiotic reproduction has advantages over mitotic reproduction in that it generates identical cells while preserving the chromosomal arrangement and genes therein, while meiosis enables the expression of novel features due to the process of crossover. 

Organisms would not have been able to adapt to their environment, evolve, or survive catastrophic catastrophes if meiosis did not maintain genetic variation among populations.

The genetic variety of a population is perhaps the most reliable weapon in the struggle for the species’ survival.

Jennifer Dawkins

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