Meiosis II

Chromosomal replication does not occur between meiosis I and meiosis II; meiosis I proceeds directly to meiosis II without going through interphase. The second part of the meiosis, meiosis II, resembles mitosis more than meiosis I. Chromosomal numbers, which have already been reduced to haploid (n) by the end of meiosis I, remain unchanged after this division. In meiosis II, the phases are, again, analogous to mitosis: prophase II, metaphase II, anaphase II, and telophase II (see figure below). As shown in the figure below, meiosis II begins with two haploid (n = 2) cells and ends with four haploid (n = 2) cells. Notice that these four meiocytes are genetically different from one another. In humans (2n = 46), who have 23 pairs of chromosomes, the number of chromosomes remains unchanged from the beginning till the end of meiosis II (n = 23).

Prophase II

Spindle fibers reform and attach to centromeres in prophase II.

Metaphase II

The chromosomes align on the metaphase plate during metaphase II in preparation for centromeres to divide in the next phase.

Anaphase II

In anaphase II, chromosomes divide at the centromeres (like in mitosis) and the resulting chromosomes, each with one chromatid, move toward opposite poles of the cell.

Telophase II and Cytokinesis

Four haploid nuclei (containing chromosomes with single chromatids) are formed in telophase II. Division of the cytoplasm during cytokinesis results in four haploid cells. Note that these four cells are not identical, as random arrangements of bivalents and crossing over in meiosis I leads to different genetic composition of these cells.

In humans, meiosis produces genetically different haploid daughter cells, each with 23 chromosomes that consist of one chromatid. These haploid cells become unfertilized eggs in females and sperm in males. The genetic differences ensure siblings of the same parents are never entirely genetically identical.