Sexual reproduction uses the process of meiosis, which creates gametes. These are sperm and eggs (ova) in animals, and pollen and ova in plants.
The process of meiosis happens in the male and female reproductive organs. As a cell divides to form gametes:
- copies of the genetic information are made
- the cell divides twice to form four gametes, each with a single set of chromosomes
- gametes are haploid
- all gametes are genetically different from each other
During fertilisation, two haploid gametes fuse to form one diploid cell. This will divide by mitosis to form an organism.
Meiosis occurs in the testes of men and ovaries of women.
Meiosis and mitosis differ because:
- mitosis is a form of cell division which produces two identical, diploid body cells
- meiosis is a form of cell division which produces four non-identical, haploid sex cells or gametes (sperm and ova in humans)