Mitosis - When Cells Split Apart

Eventually cells need to duplicate. There are two main methods of replication, mitosis and meiosis. This tutorial will talk about mitosis.

The big idea to remember is that mitosis is the simple duplication of a cell and all of its parts. It duplicates its DNA and the two new cells (daughter cells) have the same pieces and genetic code. Two identical copies come from one original. Start with one; get two that are the same. You get the idea.

Beyond the idea that two identical cells are created, there are certain steps in the process. There are five (5) basic phases in the life-cycle of a cell. You should remember the term PMATI (pronounced PeeMahtEee). PMATI is the acronym for the phases of a cell's existence. It breaks down to.


Prophase and Metaphase We suppose it would be good to know what happens during those phases. Always remember - PMATI!

The Phases

Prophase: A cell gets the idea that it is time to divide. First, it has to get everything ready. You need to duplicate DNA, get certain pieces in the right position (centrioles), and generally prepare the cell for the process of mitotic division.

Metaphase: Now all of the pieces are aligning themselves for the big split. The DNA lines up along a central axis and the centrioles send out specialized tubules that connect to the DNA. The DNA (chromatin) has now condensed into chromosomes. Two strands of a chromosome are connected at the center with something called a centromere. The tubules actually connect to the centromere, not the DNA.

Anaphase and Telophase Anaphase: Here we go! The separation begins. Half of the chromosomes are pulled to one side of the cell; half go the other way. When the chromosomes get to the side of the cell, it's time to move on to telophase.

Telophase: Now the division is finishing up. This is the time when the cell membrane closes in and splits the cell into two pieces. You have two separate cells each with half of the original DNA.

Interphase: This is the normal state of a cell. We suppose that when it comes to cell division, you could call this the resting state. It's just going about its daily business of surviving and making sure it has all of the nutrients and energy it needs. It is also getting ready for another division that will happen one day. It is duplicating its nucleic acids, so when it's time for prophase again, all the pieces are there.

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