One of the most important aspects to life is the ability to reproduce. Species reproduction hinges on cellular reproduction. The ability for a cell to make copies of itself is an amazing process. It is happening on a constant basis all through your body and all through the living world.
In the human body, the 46 chromosomes form 23 pairs of chromosomes. The pairs form because the chromosomes are alike. When there are two of every chromosome the cell is called diploid. Sex cells, on the other hand, contain only one chromosome from each matched pair and are called haploid. Therefore, a human sex cell has 23 chromosomes, not 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Meiosis happens when an organism reproduces. Sex cells form with one half the chromosomes of the original cell. This way, when that cell pairs up with a sex cell from another organism, the result is a combination of chromosomes from both parents.
Mitosis is happening all the time throughout your body. In this process, the nucleus of a cell divides to form two identical nuclei. Each of the two nuclei contain the same number and type of chromosomes as the original.
Go to the website CellsAlive.com. On the left side of the website, there is a section called "interactive." Starting with the "Cell Model" link, go through each of the interactive activities (you don't need to do the puzzles or the quizzes). Make a comment (write a paragraph) about cell division based on what you learned through these demonstrations.