“Mitosis is that step in the cell cycle where the newly formed DNA is separated and two new cells are formed with the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent nucleus.”
Mitosis is a process of asexual reproduction observed in unicellular organisms. Read on to explore what is mitosis, and the different stages of mitosis.
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What is Mitosis?
Cell division is the driving process of reproduction at the cellular level. Most eukaryotic cells divide in a manner where the ploidy or the number of chromosomes remains the same, except in the case of germ cells where the number of chromosomes is halved.
Mitosis is the phase of the cell cycle where the nucleus of a cell is divided into two nuclei with an equal amount of genetic material in both the daughter nuclei. It succeeds the G2 phase and is succeeded by cytoplasmic division after the separation of the nucleus.
Mitosis is essential for the growth of the cells and the replacement of worn-out cells. Abnormalities during mitosis may alter the DNA, resulting in genetic disorders.
Features of Mitosis
- In each cycle of cell division, two daughter cells are formed from the parent cell.
- The cell is also known as equational cell division because the chromosome number in the parent cell and daughter cell is the same.
- In plants, mitosis leads to the growth of vegetative parts of the plant like root tip, stem tip, etc.
- Segregation and combination do not occur in this process.
The processes occurring during mitosis have been divided into different stages.
Stages of Mitosis
Right before prophase, the cell spends most of its life in the interphase, where preparations are made before the beginning of mitosis (the DNA is copied). However, since the actual process involves the division of the nucleus, prophase is technically the first stage of this process.
The different stages of mitosis occurring during cell division are given as follows-
Before entering mitosis, a cell spends a period of its growth under interphase. It undergoes the following phases when in interphase:
- G1 Phase: This is the period before the synthesis of DNA.
- S Phase: This is the phase during which DNA synthesis takes place.
- G2 Phase: This is the phase between the end of DNA synthesis and the beginning of prophase.
Prophase immediately follows S and G2 phase of the cycle and is marked by condensation of the genetic material to form compact mitotic chromosomes composed of two chromatids attached at the centromere.
The completion of prophase is characterised by the initiation of the assembly of the mitotic spindle, the microtubules and the proteinaceous components of cytoplasm that help in the process.
The nuclear envelope starts disintegrating.
In the prometaphase, the nuclear envelop disintegrates. Now the microtubules are allowed to extend from the centromere to the chromosome. The microtubules attach to the kinetochores which allow the cell to move the chromosome around.
At this stage, the microtubules start pulling the chromosomes with equal force and the chromosome ends up in the middle of the cell. This region is known as the metaphase plate. Thus, each cell gets an entire functioning genome.
The splitting of the sister chromatids marks the onset of anaphase. These sister chromatids become the chromosome of the daughter nuclei. The chromosomes are then pulled towards the pole by the fibres attached to the kinetochores of each chromosome. The centromere of each chromosome leads at the edge while the arms trail behind it.
The chromosomes that cluster at the two poles start coalescing into an undifferentiated mass, as the nuclear envelope starts forming around it. The nucleolus, Golgi bodies and ER complex, which had disappeared after prophase start to reappear.
Telophase is followed by cytokinesis, which denotes the division of the cytoplasm to form two daughter cells. Thus, it marks the completion of cell division.
Also Read: Cell Cycle
Functions of Mitosis
Following are the two important functions of mitosis:
- Mitosis helps in the development of an organism. In single-celled organisms, mitosis is the process of asexual reproduction.
- Mitosis helps in the replacement of damaged tissues. The cells near the damaged cells begin mitosis when they do not sense the neighbouring cells. The dividing cells reach each other and cover the damaged cells.
Significance of Mitosis
- Mitosis is responsible for the development of the zygote into an adult.
- Equal distribution of chromosomes to each daughter cell.
- It is responsible for the growth and development of an individual.
- It maintains the constant number of chromosomes in all body cells of an organism.
- Mitosis is required for asexual reproduction, vegetative propagation in plants and also responsible for repair and regeneration of damaged tissues.
- Mitosis helps in maintaining purity of genome as no recombination or crossing over takes place.
- It is responsible for repair and regeneration of old and damaged cells in animals e.g. gut epithelium, blood cells, etc.
Also Read: Difference Between Mitosis And Meiosis
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