Meiosis or reducing cell division is a division of eukaryotic cell nucleus with a reduction in the number of chromosomes in half. It occurs in two stages (reducing and equational stages of meiosis). Meiosis is not to be confused with gametogenesis, the formation of specialized sex cells, or gametes, from undifferentiated stem cells.
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With the decline in the number of chromosomes, as a result of meiosis, in the life cycle there is a transition from the diploid phase to its. Ploidy restoration (the transition from haploid phase to diploid) occurs as a result of the sexual process.
As in the prophase of the first, reducing stage there is head-to-head merging (zygosis) of homologous chromosomes, the correct course of meiosis is possible only in diploid cells or in even polyploidy cells. Meiosis may also occur in odd polyploidy cells, but, because of the inability to provide head-to-head merging of chromosomes in prophase I, the divergence of the chromosomes occurs with violations that threaten the viability of the cells or the developing of a multicellular haploid organism.
The same mechanism is at the heart of the sterility of the interspecific hybrids. Since the interspecific hybrids have combined parental chromosomes of different species in their nucleus, the chromosome usually cannot enter into zygosis. This leads to the divergence of chromosomal loops and, ultimately, to the impossibility of sex cells, or gametes (the main means of combating this problem is to use the polyploidy chromosome sets, because in this case, each chromosome is conjugated with the chromosome of the set). Chromosome adjustments (large-scaledeletions, duplications, inversions, and translocations) also induce certain restrictions on the chromosomes conjugation.
Thus, meiosis is a continuous process, consisting of two consecutive divisions, called meiosis I and meiosis II. In each division, there are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.
In some protozaires, meiosis is different from the above-described typical multicellular meiosis. For example, there may be only one, not two, consecutive, meiotic division, and chromosomal crossover occurs during different phases of meiosis. It is anticipated that the single stage meiosis is primitive and preceded the two-stage meiosis, which would ensure the effective genome recombination.
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