Cell division is how cells reproduce. They might be cells that are a part of a large body (like your skin cells) or cells that are individuals (like an amoeba).
You lose cells from the surface of your skin all the time. Don’t worry though, because deep down in your skin, cells keep dividing to replace them. Some of these cells move up to the surface, while others stay behind to keep dividing. When a single-cell individual divides, it splits in half and each half goes on to be a new individual.
We call the cell that is about to divide mother cell and call the new cells daughter cells. It doesn’t mean they are female, though.
Before a mother cell can divide, it has to make sure that each of the daughter cells will have all that they need. So before a cell divides, it makes does things like copy its DNA. The DNA holds the codes that make a cell work. So each of the daughter cells gets the complete set of instructions. The DNA and other parts of the cell have to be divided up. That process is called mitosis (my-TOE-sis). Then the cell pinches apart in the middle to form the two new daughter cells.
A special kind of cell division happens to make egg or sperm cells. It’s called meiosis (my-OH-sis). The DNA divides twice so that eggs or sperm each have half a portion of DNA. Then when they meet their opposite in fertilization, the embryo has a full set.
Which kinds of cells do you think have to divide a lot and which do you think divide rarely or never?
Thanks for asking,