Difference Between Plant and Animal Cell Division

Main Difference – Plant vs Animal Cell Division

Plant and animal cell division occur as a part of their life cycle. Cell division, both in plants and animal cells, can be divided into two types: vegetative cell division and reproductive cell division. The vegetative cell division, which produces genetically identical two daughter cells, is called mitosis. Reproductive cell division, which produces four gametes containing half of the chromosome number as in a vegetative cell, is referred to as meiosis. The key difference between plant and animal cell division is that plant cells form the cell plate in between the two daughter cells in mitosis, whereas the cell membrane forms the cleavage furrow in between the two daughter cells in animal cells. It is important to know the different phases of cell division in order to understand difference between plant and animal cell division more clearly.

This article studies,

1. What is Plant Cell Division
      – Characteristics, Phases, Cell Plate Formation
2. What is Animal Cell Division
      – Characteristics, Phases, Process
3. What is the difference between Spores and Gametes

Difference Between Plant and Animal Cell Divisionn - Comparison Summary

What are the Phases of Cell Division

Five phases of cell division can be identified. Those are interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase and the telophase. Interphase is composed of four stages: G1, S, G2 and M. G1 is a growth stage. DNA replication occurs in the S phase. G2 is again a growth stage. After G2, cells can either go through mitotic division or meiotic division in the M phase. Chromatin condensation occurs during the prophase. During metaphase, chromosomes line up in the cell equator. Spindle fibers pull chromosomes apart in anaphase. Chromatin exist in the two poles of the cell during telophase. In meiosis, germ cell undergoes two M phases in order to obtain four daughter cells. After a successful M phase, the cell undergoes cytokinesis. The division of the cell’s cytoplasm is referred to as cytokinesis.

What is Plant Cell Division

Plant cell division is the production of two daughter plant cells from a mother cell. Plant’s vegetative cell division occurs by mitosis and gametes are produced by meiosis. During the mitotic division of plant cells, they undergo usual M phase and cytokinesis begins after the late stages of the M phase. The cytokinesis is significantly different in plant cells due to the presence of a cell wall. Plant cells form a new cell wall in between the two cells. The new cell wall is identified as the cell plate.

The formation of the cell plate occurs in several stages. First, the phragmoplast is created by assembling the remnants from the mitotic spindle. It is an array of microtubules which supports and guides the formation of the cell plate. Secondly, vesicles transfer into the division plane. Phragmoplast serves as the track for the vesicles that are trafficking. The vesicles contain lipids, proteins and carbohydrates required by the formation of the cell plate. These vesicles are fashioned to form a tubular-vesicular network. Membrane tubules are transformed into the forming membrane sheet while the callose begins to deposit on it. Next, other cell wall components together with cellulose are deposited. Then, the excess membrane and other materials from the cell plate are recycled. The membrane tubules are widen to fuse laterally with each other. This eventually forms a planar, fenestrated sheet. Finally, the edges of the cell plate are fused with the parental cell wall to complete the cytokinesis. The plant cell division is described in figure 1.

Main Difference - Plant vs Animal Cell Division

Figure 1: Plant Cell Cycle

During meiosis, plant gametes are not produced directly. The alteration of the generations is observed in some algae and land plants. The haploid spores are produced by the diploid sporophyte generation. Again, these spores are multiplied by mitosis which ultimately leads to haploid gametophyte generation. This generation gives rise to the gametes without undergo the meiosis. 

What is Animal Cell Division

Animal cell division is the production of daughter animal cells from a mother cell. Animals utilize mitosis as the vegetative cell division and meiosis as the reproductive cell division. The phases of mitosis and meiosis are almost the same except the differences in their cytoplasmic division, cytokinesis.

Cytokinesis starts just after anaphase in mitosis. This process is composed of several steps: recognition of anaphase spindle, specification of the division plane, assembling and contraction of the actin-myosin ring and abscission. These events are individually and tightly coordinated by molecular signaling pathways to ensure a faithful partitioning of the genome to daughter cells.

During the anaphase spindle recognition, the mitotic spindle is recognized and the central spindle is formed by the bundling of non-kinetochore microtubule fibers between the spindle poles. The recognition of the mitotic spindle and the formation of the central spindle are initiated by the decline of CDK1 activity in the anaphase. Central spindle controls the positioning of the cleavage furrow, the membrane vesicle delivery to cleavage furrow and the formation of midbody which is required in the late stages. Then, the cleavage furrow is formed. Cleavage furrow is the actin-myosin contractile ring which drives the cleavage process. It contracts to form the midbody structure. The plasma membrane fission occurs during the abscission. The animal cell division is described in figure 2. During meiosis, the gametes of the animal cells are produced directly.

Figure 2: Animal Cell Cycle

Figure 2: Animal Cell Cycle

Difference Between Plant and Animal Cell Division


Plant Cell Division: Plant cells form the cell plate.

Animal Cell Division: Animal cells form the cleavage furrow.

Shape of the Cell

Plant Cell Division: Plant cells do not change the shape.

Animal Cell Division: Animal cells become round in shape.


Plant Cell Division: Cell division is induced by cytokines.

Animal Cell Division: No hormone for the induction of the division is found.


Plant Cell Division: Plant cells lacks centrosomes.

Animal Cell Division: Centrosomes are essential for the animal cell division.

Aster Development

Plant Cell Division: No aster development. The spindle is anastral.

Animal Cell Division: Aster develops around each centromere during mitosis. The spindle is amphiastral.

Midbody Formation

Plant Cell Division: Midbody formation is not identified.

Animal Cell Division: Midbody forms during cytokinesis.

Involvement of Microfilaments

Plant Cell Division: Microfilaments are not involved in the division.

Animal Cell Division: Microfilaments are involved in cytokinesis.

Cleavage/Cell Plate Position

Plant Cell Division: The cell plate occurs centrifugally.

Animal Cell Division: The cleavage occurs centripetally.

Boundary Between Two Cells

Plant Cell Division: A solid middle lamella forms between the two daughter cells for the permanent adhesion.

Animal Cell Division: A furrow is formed between the two daughter cells.


Plant Cell Division: Mitotic cell division is found in meristems.

Animal Cell Division: Mitotic cell division occurs in bone marrow and many epithelia.

Difference in Meiosis

Plant Cell Division: Gametes are not produced directly.

Animal Cell Division: The gametes are produced directly.


The phases in the cell division in both plants and animals are considered to have many similarities. The key difference between plant and animal cell division is associated with the stage of cytoplasm division, cytokinesis. Plant cells are composed of a cell wall. Thus, the daughter cells are also surrounded by a cell wall. In order to form a cell wall, the cell plate should be formed in between the two daughter plant cells. The meiotic cell division of plant and animal cells bears a difference in the way of producing their gametes.

1. “”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2017. Accessed 23 Feb. 2017
2. “”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2017. Accessed 23 Feb. 2017
3. “”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2017.  Accessed 23 Feb. 2017

Image Courtesy:
1. “Plant cell cycle.svg” By kelvinsong – Own work via
2. “Animal cell cycle-en.svg” By kelvinsong – Own work (CC-0) via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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