Cell growth and division is essential to asexual reproduction and the development of multicellular organisms. Accordingly, the primary function of mitosis is to ensure that at division each daughter cell inherits identical genetic material, i.e. exactly one copy of each chromosome. To make this happen, replicated chromosomes condense (prophase), and are positioned near the middle of the dividing cell (metaphase), and then each of the sister chromatids from each chromosome migrates towards opposite poles of the dividing cell (anaphase), until the identical sets of unreplicated chromosomes are completely separated from each other within the two newly formed daughter cells (telophase) (Figures 2.10 and 2.11). This is followed by the division of the cytoplasm (cytokinesis) to complete the process. The movement of chromosomes occurs through microtubules that attach to the chromosomes at the centromeres.
Figure 2.10: Mitosis in arabidopsis showing fluorescently labeled chromosomes (blue) and microtubules (green) at metaphase, anaphase and telophase (from left to right). (PLoS Genetics-Somma MP et al. (2008) PLoS Genets 4(7): e1000126 – PD).
Figure 2.11: Mitosis and meiosis. Note the similarities and differences between metaphase in mitosis and metaphase I and II of meiosis. (Original-Deyholos-CC:AN)
Dr. Todd Nickle and Isabelle Barrette-Ng (Mount Royal University) The content on this page is licensed under CC SA 3.0 licensing guidelines.