Ascospore

An ascospore is a spore contained in an ascus or that was produced inside an ascus. This kind of spore is specific to fungi classified as ascomycetes (Ascomycota).

Typically, a single ascus will contain eight ascospores. The eight spores are produced by a combination of a meiosis division followed by a mitotic division. The meiosis division turns the original diploid zygote nucleus into four haploid ones. That is, the single original cell from which the whole process begins contains two complete sets of chromosomes. In preparation for meiosis, all the DNA of both sets is duplicated, to make a total of four sets. The nucleus that contains the four sets divides in two stages, separating into four new nuclei - each of which has one complete set of chromosomes. Following this process, each of the four new nuclei duplicates its DNA and undergoes a division by mitosis. As a result, the ascus will contain four pairs of spores.

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