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Concept 1: An Overview
Concept 1: An Overview
Meiosis involves two successive divisions of a diploid (2N) eukaryotic cell of a sexually reproducing organism that result in four haploid (N) progeny cells, each with half of the genetic material of the original cell. Through the mechanisms by which paternal and maternal chromosomes segregate, and the process of crossing-over, genetic variation is produced in the haploid cells.
Static image of meiotic cell division
• Meiosis occurs in diploid cells. The chromosomes duplicate once, and through two successive divisions, four haploid cells are produced, each with half the chromosome number of the parental cell.

• Meiosis occurs only in sexually reproducing organisms. Depending on the organism, it may produce haploid gametes, which do not divide further but instead fuse to produce a diploid zygote; or it may produce haploid spores, which divide by mitotic cell cycles and produce unicellular or multicellular organisms.

• In animals, where the somatic (body) cells are diploid, the products of meiosis are the gametes.

• In many fungi and some algae, meiosis occurs immediately after two haploid cells fuse, and mitosis then produces a haploid multicellular "adult" organism (e.g., filamentous fungi, algae) or haploid unicellular organisms (e.g., yeast, unicellular algae).

• Plants and some algae have both haploid and diploid multicellular stages. The multicellular diploid stage is the sporophyte. Meiosis in a sporophyte produces haploid spores. These spores alone are capable of generating a haploid multicellular stage called a gametophyte. The gametophyte produces gametes by mitotic cell cycles.