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  Meiosis (Greek, ‘process of lessening’) refers to the divisions of the cell nucleus which occur during the formation of gametes (sex cells—eggs and sperm); the parent nucleus, with paired chromosomes, produces four daughters with a single complement of chromosomes each. The genetic make-up of these chromosomes is different from that of either parent, but they consist of components from each because of the exchange of genes which takes place during crossing over. These daughters form the gametes which fuse during fertilization their nuclei fuse so that they have paired chromosomes. The division of the chromosome pairs between gametes is a random event so that one gamete receives a paternal and a maternal chromosome; this is the essence of Mendel\'s law of segregation (see Mendelism). RB

See also gene; genetic linkage; genetics.Further reading Bruce Alberts, Molecular Biology of the Cell.



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