There are numerous biological processes that are absolutely crucial for living organisms to grow, develop, or simply exist. Cell division is one of the most critical processes without which there would be no life on our planet. While there are several. types of cell division, including mitosis, meiosis, and binary fission, the primary goal is almost the same: to produce new cells. However, there are plenty of other aspects that make cell division one of the essential biological processes for both single-celled and multicellular organisms. To help you better understand how the process works, here are ten reasons why cell division is so important.
#1. Cell Division Is Essential for Producing New Cells
Cell division is a process during which cells divide to make new cells. As the old cells divide, new cells are formed and this process is often called cell reproduction. While the purpose of cell division is to produce new cells, this process occurs in unique ways in different living organisms. In order to create new cells, single-celled and multicellular organisms go through contrasting cell division cycles, phases, and individual steps.
#2. Mitosis, Meiosis, and Binary Fission Are Types of Cell Division
As some organisms have multiple cells while others possess only a single one, cell division occurs in several different ways. There are three types of cell division, including mitosis, meiosis, and binary fission. During mitosis, one cell is divided to give two diploid cells or genetically identical daughter cells. On the other hand, in meiosis, the number of chromosomes is reduced by half and four haploid cells or genetically unique cells are formed. Although mitosis and binary fission may seem pretty similar, there are some major differences. In a nutshell, binary fission typically occurs in prokaryotes or cells that lack a nucleus and mitosis occurs in eukaryotes or cells with a nucleus.
#3. Cell Division Is Key to Growth and Development
As cells are being divided literally every second, cell division is a critical process that leads to the growth and development of various organisms. Cell division is fundamental to repairing damaged cells or producing new ones. Therefore, it helps organisms increase the number of cells to grow and develop. In addition, cell division, specifically mitosis, prepares organisms for sexual reproduction and numerous single-celled organisms rely on mitosis to reproduce asexually.
#4. Cell Division Is Fundamental for Living Things to Reproduce
There are two ways organisms reproduce: asexual and sexual reproduction. During asexual reproduction, a living thing can reproduce without another member of its species. Contrarily, sexual reproduction involves two different members of the species. While bacteria, archaea, fungi, plants, and some animals reproduce asexually, humans, mammals, different fishes, insects, and flowering plants reproduce sexually. In both cases, reproduction occurs as a result of cell division.
#5. Cell Division Is Responsible for Transferring Genetic Material from Parents to Their Offspring
A cell cycle refers to the series of events that occur as the cell grows and devides. Interphase is a phase in which cells spend the most time to grow and replicate the chromosomes. Interphase prepares cells for division. After the G1 phase, S phase, and G2 phase are completed, the cell goes through mitosis during which two daughter cells receive two copies of genetic material. In case of meiosis, unique combinations of genetic material are created for each of the four daughter cells. Evidently, it would be impossible to transfer genetic material from parents to their offspring without cell division.
#6. Cell Division Replaces Damaged Cells with Healthy Cells
In fact, some cells get damaged or even die. At this point, the body of an organism starts producing new cells to replace the damaged ones. And this is achieved through cell division. When a cell divides, it makes two new cells. Then these two cells divide to produce four cells. After that, these four cells divide and form eight cells and so on. Without cell division, organisms would not be able to repair or replace damaged cells.
#7. Cell Division Is Involved in Asexual Reproduction
By cell division, people often refer to mitosis, the form of cell division that occurs during asexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is when new offspring is created by a single parent, without the involvement of another member of the species. Organisms produced through asexual reproduction are genetically identical to each other. And this is achieved by cell division during which the number of chromosomes remains unchanged.
#8. Cell Division Is Important for Maintaining the Total Number of Chromosomes
While mitosis does not change the number of chromosomes in two identical daughter cells, the number of chromosomes is halved during meiosis. While a gamete has half of the chromosomes transferred from the parent, two haploid gametes are then fused during fertilization to form diploid zygote. At this point, the chromosomes from each gamete are also combined, meaning that the total number of chromosomes is maintained.
#9. Cell Division Is Crucial for Recovering Damaged Organs
According to Kindred Healthcare, there are no drugs or therapies that can reverse organ failure. However, organs or certain organ functions can recover to some extent through cell division. Cell division allows organisms to recover damaged organs but this gets more and more challenging as the organisms age. This is because the cells experience changes, becoming less able to divide.
#10. Cell Division Helps Plants Grow New Parts and Repair Damaged Ones
Cell division, specifically mitosis, is essential for plants to grow and develop by increasing the number of cells. After the cells are divided, they grow into different types of cells and therefore, have different functions. Besides, plants use cell division to repair damaged parts by repairing or replacing damaged cells.