Haploid vs Diploid Cells: How to Know the Difference

haploid vs diploidCells are the foundation of life. Plants, bacteria, humans, animals, algae, and every other living organism are made up of small, microscopic cells. Therefore, learning about cells is an essential part of any biology class. (On that note, sure to check out Udemy’s biology courses, including primers on the Biology GSCE and the follow-up Biology GSCE course if you need a little help mastering the subjects.)

Most cells have unique properties and become a specific type of cell to make up a part of the organism. For example, human skin cells remain skin cells throughout their life cycle. Stem cells are the only type of cells that have the ability to turn into any other type of cell. Eukaryote cells, or cells that contain a nucleus, have DNA in chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell that tells the cell what to do.

In biology, the term pliody is used to define the number of sets of chromosomes found within the nucleus of a cell. Different organisms have different number of chromosomes. Two types of eukaryote cells are haploid and diploid cells, the main difference being the number of chromosome sets found in the nucleus.

What are Haploid Cells?

Haploid cells are cells that contain only one complete set of chromosomes. The most common type of haploid cells is gametes, or sex cells. Haploid cells are produced by meiosis. They are genetically diverse cells that are used in sexual reproduction. When the haploid cells from the parent donors come together and are fertilized, the offspring has a complete set of chromosomes and becomes a diploid cell. A haploid cell with have a haploid number, which is the number of chromosomes found within the nucleus that create one set. In humans, the haploid cells have 23 chromosomes, versus the 46 in the diploid cells.

There is a difference between haploid and monoploid cells. Haploid cells have one complete set of chromosomes, whereas the term monoploid refers to the number of unique chromosomes in a biological cell. In diploid organisms, diploid cells contain the complete set of necessary chromosomes, while haploid have only half the number of chromosomes found in the nucleus. Although haploid cells in humans and many other organisms are only in the gamete cells, some organisms, such as algae, go through a phase in their lifecycle where their cells will be haploid. Additionally, some organisms, including male ants, actually live as haploid organisms throughout their whole life cycle.

What are Diploid Cells? 

Diploid cells are those that have two sets of chromosomes. In diploid organisms, the parents each donate one set of chromosomes that will make up the two sets in the offspring. Most mammals are diploid organisms, which means they have two homologous copies of each chromosome in the cells. In humans, there are 46 chromosomes. In most diploid organisms, every cell except for gametes will be diploid and contain both sets of chromosomes. Diploid cells reproduce using mitosis, which creates a completely identical copy of the cell. In humans, the somatic cells (or non-sex cells) are all diploid cells. These include the cells that make up the organs, muscles, bones, skin, hair, and any other part of the body other than the eggs or sperm cells.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between haploid and diploid cells is the number of chromosome sets found in the nucleus. Ploidy is the area of biology that refers to the number of chromosomes in a cell. Therefore, cells with two sets are diploid, and those with one set are haploid. In diploid organisms, such as humans, the haploid cells are used only for the sex cells for reproduction, while the rest of the cells are diploid. Another difference between haploid and diploid cells is how they reproduce. Haploid cells are reproduced using meiosis, while diploid cells go through mitosis. Most mammals are diploid organisms, and their somatic cells will typically be diploid and their gamete cells will be haploid.

What You Need To Know About Chromosomes

Chromosomes hold an organism’s DNA and protein within the cells. The DNA contains the genetic code of a person, and the proteins help to control the DNA’s functions. A homologous chromosome is a pair of the same length, centromere positions and pattern that code for the same characteristics. DNA is the building block of life. It includes the coding for everything, from how an organism looks to whether it is prone to certain diseases. How the genetic code is passed on is very important, whether in cellular reproduction for the creation of new cells or in sexual reproduction for producing offspring. If there is any malfunction in reproducing the chromosomes, there can be problems, including cancer or birth defects.

In sexual reproduction for diploid organisms, each parent gives one set of chromosomes, passing on certain genetic traits. Various factors come into play whether a certain gene is expressed. Some genes will only be expressed in certain conditions, such as stress causing certain disease-fighting genes to be expressed. Other genes, such as physical traits, are expressed based upon which allele is dominant and which is recessive. Since coding the human genome, scientists have learned a lot more about human health that helps to further the prevention and treatment of diseases.

The Importance of the Cell Life Cycle 

Cells go through a life cycle that includes being born, reproducing, and dying. The life cycle is very important in maintaining the organism’s health, because if a cell is not reproduced correctly, it can cause problems. The main two sections of the life cycle are interphase and mitosis or meiosis, depending on the cell.

During interphase, the cells go through G1, S and G2 phases. During G1, cells ensure that the environmental conditions are favorable for replication. If they are not, then the cells will go into a resting state of G0. If they are, then they will go through S phase, where the DNA is replicated in preparation for cell replication. Then, the cell goes through the G2 phase to ensure the DNA replication was done correctly. If it was not, then it will fix any problems. Then, the cell enters into the replication phase. In diploid cells, this phase will be mitosis, which creates two completely identical copies of the parent cell. In haploid cells, this phase will be meiosis, which creates four genetically unique haploid cells.

It is essential that the cells monitor the reproduction; otherwise, it can harm the DNA replication. This can lead to the cells malfunctioning, which can cause disease and cancer. Cancer is often caused by a problem in the DNA of a cell that causes too many cells to be reproduced. This can be due to a problem during the S phase of the life cycle, or due to an environmental factor harming the cell’s DNA. The cell life cycle often makes up many biology class essays and research papers, which you can learn how to write by signing up for this Udemy course. It should go without saying that the different stages and the importance of each are essential to know.

Learn More About Biology Today 

Learning about biology does not just have to get your through your school days. Cells and genetics are the building blocks of life. Having a foundational understanding of biology, such as the difference between haploid and diploid cells, can teach you many essential facts about the human body. This can help you know how to keep yourself healthy and prevent disease.

If you want to learn more about biology, you can take an introductory biology course that will provide you with the basics you need to know about the science of life. Not only will you learn about cells and living organisms, but you will also learn about the environment and how everything is interconnected.