meiosis

The form of cell division that creates gametes, or sex cells (eggs or sperm) is called meiosis. It is a special form of reproduction that results in four next-generation cells, rather than just two, from each cell.

As with so many scientific terms, the word meiosis comes from the Greek, in this case meíōsis, which means "a lessening." This idea makes sense, as meiosis creates cells with half the chromosomes than the original. These cells are specifically for reproduction, and then take additional genetic material from the other parent cell. The actual discovery of meiosis happened in 1883, when Belgian scientist Edouard Van Beneden noticed that sex cells had a different way of dividing than did other cells.

Primary Meanings of meiosis

1.
n
(genetics) cell division that produces reproductive cells in sexually reproducing organisms; the nucleus divides into four nuclei each containing half the chromosome number (leading to gametes in animals and spores in plants)
2.
n
understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary)
Full Definitions of meiosis
1

n (genetics) cell division that produces reproductive cells in sexually reproducing organisms; the nucleus divides into four nuclei each containing half the chromosome number (leading to gametes in animals and spores in plants)

Synonyms:
miosis, reduction division
Types:
nondisjunction
meiosis in which there is a failure of paired homologous chromosomes to separate; results in an abnormal number of chromosomes in the daughter cells
Type of:
cell division, cellular division
the process in reproduction and growth by which a cell divides to form daughter cells
2

n understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary)

Synonyms:
litotes
Type of:
understatement
a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said
rhetorical device
a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)

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