Cells go through the cell division process to divide themselves depending upon the body’s requirements regarding the functions of those particular cells. Cell division is simply the nucleus of the cell splitting, followed by the replication of DNA. There are two categories of cell division based solely on the purpose that the cells are meant to achieve.
The first cell division is called meiosis. This is for sexual reproduction. During meiosis, the chromosomes are reduced by half. The ova (human egg) and sperm cells, known as gametes in the reproductive process, have only 23 chromosomes each. When they join together, they create a zygote, a combination of the 46 chromosomes. Meiosis is specific to the combination of two individual genetic materials (the mother and the father) to form another cell with the combined 46 chromosomes.
The second type of cell division is called mitosis. This is for cell growth, repair and replacement. This is a repetitive and ongoing process. In this process of cell division, cells called daughter cells are produced. They have a complete set of chromosomes containing all the parent cell’s genetic material. The mitotic phases of the cell cycle are part of the division process. These include the division of both the cytoplasm and the cell membrane. Depending upon the organism whose cells are dividing, these processed may take place immediately following mitosis or they may happen at a different and separately.
There are four distinct phases of cell division occurring in both mitosis and meiosis. These are the prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase.