Cell Cycle


Cell Cycle


The cell is the basic smallest part of any entity. In living beings, a cell is the most fundamental building block, which when combined with similar cells forms a tissue and organ. The various parts of cells include:

  1. Cytoplasm
  2. Cytoskeleton
  3. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)
  4. Golgi apparatus
  5. Lysosomes and peroxisomes
  6. Mitochondria
  7. Nucleus
  8. Plasma membrane
  9. Ribosomes

Cell Cycle

An ordered set of events where a cell grows and divides into two daughter cells is known as Cell Cycle. The phenomena again occur with the daughter cells where they grow and divide further.

This entire process where, with the help of one single parental cell, a new cell population grows and develops is known as Cell Cycle. This was discovered by Prevost and Dumas (1824) when they studied about the cleavage of zygote of Frog.

Phases of the Cell Cycle

Cell cycle or cell division refers to the series of events that take place in a cell leading to its maturity and subsequent division. These events include duplication of its genome and synthesis of the cell organelles followed by division of the cytoplasm. Human cells exhibit typical eukaryotic cell cycle and take around 24 hours to complete one cycle of growth and division. The duration of the cycle, however, varies from organism to organism and cell to cell. A typical eukaryotic cell cycle is divided into two main phases:-

Cell Cycle


Also known as the resting phase of the cell cycle; interphase is the time during which the cell prepares for division by undergoing both cell growth and DNA replication. It occupies around 95% time of the overall cycle. The interphase is divided into three phases:-

  • G1 phase (Gap 1) – G1 phase is the phase of the cell between mitosis and initiation of replication of the genetic material of the cell. During this phase, the cell is metabolically active and continues to grow without replicating its DNA.
  • S phase (Synthesis) – DNA replication takes place during this phase. If the initial quantity of DNA in the cell is denoted as 2N, then after replication it becomes 4N. However the number of chromosomes does not vary viz. if the number of chromosomes during G1 phase was 2n, it will remain 2n at the end of S phase. The centriole also divides into two centriole pairs in the cells which contain centriole.
  • G2­ phase (Gap 2) –During this phase, the RNA, proteins, other macromolecules required for multiplication of cell organelles, spindle formation, and cell growth are produced as the cell prepares to go into the mitotic phase.

Some cells like cardiac cells in the adult animals do not exhibit division and some other only divide to replace those cells which have been either damaged or lost due to cell death. Such cells which do not divide further attain an inactive G0 phase also known as quiescent phase after they exit G1 phase. These cells remain metabolically active but do not divide unless called upon to do so.

M phase

This is the mitotic phase or the phase of the equational division as the cell undergoes a complete reorganization to give birth to a progeny that has the same number of chromosomes as the parent cell. The other organelles are also divided equally by the process of cytokinesis which is preceded by mitotic nuclear division. The mitotic phase is divided into four overlapping stages:-

  1. Prophase,
  2. Metaphase,
  3. Anaphase, and
  4. Telophase


The process by which a eukaryotic cell separates the nuclear DNA and chromosomes and divides into two different but similar sets of nuclei is known as Mitosis. The chromosomes are pulled apart by a mitotic spindle, which is a specialized structure consisting of microtubules.


In this phase, the cytoplasm of the cell divides. It begins as soon as the mitosis ends. Plant cells are much tougher than animal cells, as they have a rigid cell wall and high internal pressure. Thus, cytokinesis occurs in plant and animal cells differently.

To study in detail about the cell cycle and mitotic phase, visit Byju’s.

Practise This Question

What is the average cell cycle span of a human cell?