SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS
Ploidy - the number of copies of genetic information that an organism has in its cells.
Haploid* - ONE copy of genetic information. Often represented in diagrams simply as "n"
Diploid* - TWO copies of genetic information (one from each parent). Often represented simply as "2n"
Gamete - single cell haploid
Gametophyte - multi-cellular haploid (in PLANTS only)
Sporophyte - multi-cellular diploid (in PLANTS only)
Fertilization - when two haploid gametes join to form a diploid zygote
Mitosis - cell division (can be either diploid or haploid cells)
Meiosis - special kind of cell division where a regular diploid cell forms 4 haploid gamete cells
* without understanding these definitions, in particular, none of this will make ...
Here we compare and contrast the life cycles of plants and animals. First, several key definitions will be provided followed by a general description of each life cycle. Finally, several points about the similarities and differences are made.