Mitosis produces two daughter cells of the same ploidy as the mother cell, whereas meiosis results in four haploid cells to promote genetic mixing. Both processes require a very precise machinery, the spindle, to ensure a correct segregation of the genetic material. In their study, Ana Loncar, Phong Tran and colleagues (Loncar et al., 2020) compare spindle assembly and dynamics during mitosis and meiosis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The authors observe that mitotic and meiotic spindles are different with respect to the relative concentrations of the opposing motor proteins Pkl1, a member of the kinesin-14 family, and the kinesin-5 Cut7. The total amount of microtubules and molecular motors were determined to be higher during meiosis I compared to in mitosis with the exception of Pkl1, which was found to be lower. In addition, the second yeast kinesin-14 Klp2, which opposes the forces of Cut7, was found to localise on the spindle, but in contrast to Pkl1, it was enriched during meiosis I compared to mitosis. This suggests that Klp2 may be compensating for the imbalance between Cut7 and Pkl1. Furthermore, microtubule dynamics is enhanced during meiosis I compared to in mitosis, and suppression of microtubule dynamics in Δcut7Δpkl1 zygotes rescues spindle assembly. Taken together, the study provides the framework for future comparative studies of meiotic and mitotic spindles that might help to further dissect the mechanisms that underlie their assemblies.