Meiosis and Amitosis
Mitotic division is the method of nuclear division of the somatic (body) cells, as distinguished from the gametes, or sex cells (eggs and sperm). In sexual reproduction, i.e., by the union of two gametes, the complex process of meiosis takes place, which produces cells that each contain only half the normal number of chromosomes. Direct cell division, in which the nucleus simply cleaves in two (sometimes but not always followed by division of the cytoplasm), is called amitosis and is very rare.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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