(i) Mitosis – Also called somatic cell division. Literally it means division of nucleus but it is generally described as cell division as a whole-both nucleus and cytoplasm. It results in formation of two daughter cells with equal number of chromosomes in each, which occur in somatic cells or organs. It is the most common form of cell division which is essential for cell multiplication of growth. Since the number of chromosomes remains the same during mitosis, this division is also referred to as the equational division.
(ii) Meiosis – Occurs in reproductive cells. It causes a reduction in number of chromosomes in the cell besides; formation of gametes which contain half the number of chromosomes as compared to the mother cell, this division is also called reductional division. It causes hereditary variations in a species due to exchange of genetic material.
Before cell division, the cell prepares itself for division; and is called interphase in which the cell becomes more active. Each cell division has two steps, viz, division of the nucleus and division of the cytoplasm. During cell division chromatin material of the cell gets organized into chromosomes.