Cell Division and its Role in Variation

Cell Division and its Role in Variation

Cell Division

Overview and Definition

  • Cell division is the process where a parent cell divides into two or more daughter cells.
  • Cell division is crucial for growth, repair, and reproduction in organisms.
  • There are two types of cell division: mitosis and meiosis.

Process of Mitosis

  • Mitosis generates two daughter cells that have the same genetic material as the parent cell.
  • This is the process used for growth and repair in multicellular organisms.
  • Mitosis occurs in five stages: Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, and Telophase.

Process of Meiosis

  • Meiosis, on the other hand, produces four daughter cells each with half the number of chromosomes as the parent cell.
  • These daughter cells are genetically different from the parent cell.
  • Meiosis is used to produce gametes (sex cells) for sexual reproduction.
  • Meiosis occurs in two major stages: Meiosis I and Meiosis II, each with their own specific phases.

Role in Genetic Variation


  • Genetic variation refers to differences in the genetic material of individuals within a population.
  • Genetic variation is essential for natural selection as it contributes to variation in phenotypic traits upon which selection acts.

Sources of Genetic Variation

  • Genetic variation can occur due to mutation, recombination, and random segregation of chromosomes.
  • Mutation is a change in the DNA sequence, and it can result in new genes or alteration in the function of existing genes.
  • Recombination, also known as crossing over, happens during meiosis when segments of DNA are exchanged between homologous chromosomes.
  • Random segregation of chromosomes during meiosis ensures that each gamete produced is unique, contributing to genetic variation.

Impact on Genetic Engineering

  • Understanding cell division and its role in genetic variation is fundamental for genetic engineering.
  • Through manipulating the process of cell division, scientists can selectively breed plants and animals to exhibit desirable traits.
  • Genetic variation forms the basis for understanding genetic disorders and how they can be potentially rectified through genetic engineering practices such as gene therapy.

Cell division and its role in genetic variation is a concept central to understanding inheritance, adaptation, evolution, and the principles of genetic engineering. It forms a cornerstone for modern scientific practices such as cloning, gene therapy, and the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).