Prophase

Prophase I:

It is the initial phase of first meiosis. This is the longest phase of the meiotic division. It comprises 5 sub-phases viz.:

Leptotene:

The term leptotene means ‘thin thread’. The chromosomes uncoil and become big and thinner. Each chromosome comprises of two chromatids.

Zygotene:

Homologous chromosomes approach together and lie side by side all through their length. This is termed as synapsis or pairing. The paired chromosomes are now termed as bivalents. The adjacent non-sister chromatids are joined altogether at some points termed as chiasmata.

Pachytene:

The chromosomes are then condense and become very shorter and thicker. They are very different now. The two sister chromatids of each homologous chromosome become evidently visible. The bivalent therefore becomes a tetrad with four chromatids. In the area of chiasmata, segments of non-sister chromatids of the homologous chromosomes are exchanged and this procedure is termed as crossing over.

Diplotene:

The homologous chromosomes are again condensed. They start to separate from each other apart from at the chiasmata. Due to this separation the dual nature of a bivalent becomes obvious and therefore the name diplotene.

Diakinesis:

The Chromosomes carry on to contract. The separation of chromosome becomes complete due to the terminalisation. The separation begins from the centromeres and goes towards the end and therefore the name terminalisation:

The nucleolus and nuclear membrane vanish and spindle formation begins.

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