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What is a tetrad for meiosis?

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Quick Answer

A tetrad is a composition of four chromatids that are formed after synapsis occurs during the prophase I stage of meiosis I. Each of the tetrads contains two chromosomes, known as a homologous chromosome pair, with two chromatids per chromosome.

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Full Answer

The process of meiosis involves two separate parts, defined as meiosis I and meiosis II, in order to create gametes for organisms that reproduce sexually. Both forms of meiosis involve disparate stages. For meiosis I, the stages are prophase I, metaphase I, anaphase I and telophase I.

Tetrads play roles in the prophase I and metaphase I stages of meiosis. During prophase I, the chromosomes in a nucleus begin to condense and form synaptic pairs known as a tetrad. This process of forming pairs takes place inside the nuclear membrane of a cell.

In metaphase I, the tetrads migrate to the center of the cell to prepare for separation and cell division in anaphase I and telophase I, respectively. During prophase I, the chromatids of each tetrad may cross over, providing for genetic diversity. Additionally, other parts of the cell prepare for cell division with the migration of centrioles to the poles of the cell and the formation of the spindle fibers.

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