Meiosis

In the anthers and ovaries (parts of the plant producing the sex cells; the pollen and ovules respectively) cell division needs to be radically different. Sexual reproduction involves the fusion of genetic material contributed by the sex cells of each parent (see fertilization). Half of the chromosomes in the cells of an offspring are therefore inherited from the male parent, and half from the female. To ensure that the chromosome number in the offspring is equal to that of the parents, the number of chromosomes in the male and female sex cells (pollen and ovule) must be halved. This halving is achieved by a special division process, meiosis, in the anthers and ovaries. It ensures the separation of each homologous chromosome from its partner so that each sex cell contains only one complete set of chromosomes. This cell condition is termed haploid.

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