Cells are the most fundamental units of life. All living organisms are made of one or more. Cells reproduce by copying their genetic material and then dividing—a parent cell giving rise to daughter cells.
Article Summary: There are three different types of cell division, the binary fission of prokaryotes, and mitosis and meiosis in eukaryotes. Here are the basics.
Types of Cell Division: Binary Fission, Mitosis & Meiosis
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Binary fission is essentially cloning. Barring mutations that may have occurred when the genetic material was copied (a process called replication), the two resulting daughter cells are identical to the parent cell.
A bacterial cell that is ready to divide first copies its genetic material, called the nucleoid—a single, circular chromosome of DNA
(deoxyribonucleic acid). The two chromosomes, each attached to the plasma membrane, move apart as the cell elongates.
Once the two copies of genetic instructions are separated, the cell divides, laying down new cell wall and membrane between the two chromosomes.