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Metaphase 1 vs. Metaphase 2: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 4, 2023
Metaphase 1 involves homologous chromosomes aligning in pairs at the cell's equator, while Metaphase 2 sees individual chromosomes lining up.

Key Differences

Metaphase 1 is a critical stage in meiosis, specifically in its first division known as meiosis I. During Metaphase 1, homologous chromosomes (chromosomes with the same genes but possibly different alleles) pair up and align along the cell's equatorial plane. These pairs, termed tetrads due to their four chromatid structure, are the result of a unique process where chromosomes exchange genetic material in a phenomenon known as crossing over.
Contrastingly, Metaphase 2 takes place during the second division of meiosis, aptly named meiosis II. In Metaphase 2, the individual chromosomes, each made up of two sister chromatids, line up at the cell's equator. It's pivotal to note that these chromosomes aren't undergoing the pairing process witnessed in Metaphase 1. Instead, they are singularly aligned, preparing for the subsequent separation of their chromatids.
A vital distinction between Metaphase 1 and Metaphase 2 lies in the genetic content. In Metaphase 1, the paired chromosomes possess genetic diversity due to the earlier crossing over. This recombination results in chromosomes with a blend of maternal and paternal genes. Metaphase 2, however, does not engage in such genetic shuffling, making its chromosomes unchanged from the end of meiosis I.
In terms of chromosome count, Metaphase 1 operates with diploid cells, implying that the cells have two complete sets of chromosomes. This is halved in the resulting cells after meiosis I. Consequently, by Metaphase 2, the cells are haploid, possessing only a single set of chromosomes.
In summation, while both Metaphase 1 and Metaphase 2 serve as stages in the meiotic process, they differ in chromosome alignment, genetic content, and chromosome count.

Comparison Chart

Chromosome Alignment

Homologous chromosomes pair up
Individual chromosomes line up

Genetic Content

Recombination due to crossing over
No new recombination

Chromosome Count


Stages of Meiosis

Occurs during meiosis I
Occurs during meiosis II

Resultant Cells

Two cells with halved chromosome number
Four haploid cells

Metaphase 1 and Metaphase 2 Definitions

Metaphase 1

The phase marked by genetic recombination due to crossing over.
Genetic diversity is introduced in Metaphase 1 through the exchange of genetic material.

Metaphase 2

The phase without new genetic recombination.
The chromosomes in Metaphase 2 remain unchanged from the end of meiosis I.

Metaphase 1

The meiotic phase ensuring genetic variation in offspring.
The crossing over in Metaphase 1 ensures offspring inherit a mix of parental genes.

Metaphase 2

A meiotic stage with haploid cells presenting singularly aligned chromosomes.
Metaphase 2 displays haploid cells, half the chromosome number from the cell's original state.

Metaphase 1

A stage in meiosis I where homologous chromosomes pair up at the cell's equator.
During Metaphase 1, tetrads align centrally, preparing for separation.

Metaphase 2

The final alignment phase in the meiotic process.
Metaphase 2 concludes the chromosome alignments within meiosis.

Metaphase 1

A meiotic phase with diploid cells aligning paired chromosomes.
In Metaphase 1, the cell's diploid nature is evident as chromosomes line up in pairs.

Metaphase 2

The stage before sister chromatids are separated.
After Metaphase 2, sister chromatids get pulled to opposite poles during anaphase II.

Metaphase 1

The stage preceding the separation of homologous chromosomes.
Following Metaphase 1, the paired chromosomes will be pulled apart during anaphase.

Metaphase 2

A stage in meiosis II where individual chromosomes align at the cell's middle.
During Metaphase 2, chromosomes prepare for the final chromatid separation.


During which meiotic division does Metaphase 2 occur?

Metaphase 2 takes place during meiosis II.

What is the primary chromosome alignment in Metaphase 1?

In Metaphase 1, homologous chromosomes pair up at the cell's equator.

Is crossing over a phenomenon witnessed in Metaphase 2?

No, crossing over is specific to Metaphase 1.

Do tetrads form in Metaphase 2?

No, tetrads form in Metaphase 1.

Is there a difference in chromosome number between Metaphase 1 and Metaphase 2?

Yes, Metaphase 1 operates with diploid cells, while Metaphase 2 operates with haploid cells.

How do the chromosomes align in Metaphase 2?

In Metaphase 2, individual chromosomes line up at the cell's middle.

How many chromatids are in a chromosome during Metaphase 1?

During Metaphase 1, each chromosome has four chromatids, forming tetrads.

Is there a change in genetic content between Metaphase 1 and Metaphase 2?

Yes, Metaphase 1 introduces genetic variability, while Metaphase 2 does not have new recombination.

In which metaphase do chromosomes line up singularly?

Chromosomes line up singularly in Metaphase 2.

Which metaphase prepares the cell for the final meiotic division?

Metaphase 2 prepares the cell for the final meiotic division.

Does genetic recombination occur in Metaphase 2?

No, genetic recombination is specific to Metaphase 1 due to crossing over.

Which phase precedes the final chromatid separation in meiosis?

Metaphase 2 precedes the final chromatid separation.

Which phase ensures that offspring inherit a mix of parental genes?

Metaphase 1 ensures this through the process of crossing over.

Are the cells in Metaphase 1 diploid or haploid?

The cells in Metaphase 1 are diploid.

Are the cells haploid by the end of Metaphase 2?

Yes, the cells are haploid by the end of Metaphase 2.

Does Metaphase 1 or Metaphase 2 result in four haploid cells?

The culmination of Metaphase 2 and the subsequent stages results in four haploid cells.

What follows Metaphase 1 in meiosis I?

Anaphase 1 follows Metaphase 1.

When do sister chromatids separate in meiosis?

Sister chromatids separate during anaphase II, following Metaphase 2.

Why is Metaphase 1 crucial for genetic diversity?

Metaphase 1 is vital because of the genetic recombination that results from crossing over.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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