Meiosis II: Definition, Stages & Comparison to Meiosis I

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  • 0:32 Meiosis II
  • 2:08 Meiosis II Steps
  • 4:26 Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Greg Chin
Behold round two of meiotic cell division! You'll see how meiosis II keeps the genome intact and gives the final push to produce haploid gametes, which make the world go round.

Types of Cell Division

In meiosis II, the number of chromosomes in each daughter cell is the same as in the mother cell
Cell division during meiosis II

To successfully complete meiosis and produce a gamete, a cell must undergo two rounds of division. The first round, conveniently known as meiosis I, reduces the number of chromosomes in the cell by half. The mechanisms the cell uses to accomplish this reductional division differ greatly from mitosis.

In contrast, meiosis II is very similar to mitosis, since the goal is to segregate a chromatid of each chromosome into separate daughter cells. For this reason, meiosis II is sometimes called an equational division. Like mitosis, the number of chromosomes in each daughter cell is unchanged compared to the number of chromosomes in the mother cell. Let's examine the similarities and differences between meiosis II and mitosis a little more closely.

Recall that meiosis I produced two cells, which will behave exactly the same during meiosis II. Since both cells are going to undergo the same steps, let's just consider the meosis II division of one of these cells, and then we can consider all of the products together at the end. So, this cell is going to undergo interphase, prophase II, metaphase II, anaphase II and telophase II.

Meiosis II is preceded by a brief interphase. Now, it's a special interphase, because no DNA replication occurs in this case. Recall that meiosis I left each cell with only one set of homologous chromosomes, but each homologous chromosome consists of two chromatids. Like in mitosis, the centrosome duplicates during interphase.

Meiosis II Stages

Chromosomes are positioned in the middle of each cell during the first step of meiosis II
Cell alignment in meiosis II

Prophase II is the first step in meiosis II. Like mitosis and meiosis I, the chromosomes condense throughout this step. The centrosomes move to opposite poles and begin to form spindle fibers. Kinetochore proteins assemble on the outer chromatids of each chromosome just as they do in mitosis. The meiotic spindle attaches to the kinetochores, and, as in mitosis, our little kinetochore friend is busy working on those winches on either side of the chromosome. By adjusting the length of the microtubules on each side, the kinetochore can position each chromosome in the middle of the cell. By the end of prophase II, the nuclear membrane has broken down and the meiotic spindle apparatus has assembled.

Metaphase II is the second step in meiosis II. At metaphase II, each chromosome is aligned at the metaphase plate. As in mitosis, each chromosome is held in place at the metaphase plate by equivalent spindle tension on each side.

Anaphase II is the third step in meiosis II. Like in mitosis, anaphase II is initiated when the protein separase cleaves the protein holding the chromatids together. Once this physical connection is broken, each chromatid is free to move to its respective pole.

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