A cell in late metaphase. All chromosomes (blue) but one have arrived at the metaphase plate.

Types of Cell Division: Mitosis - P2
The stages of mitosis include the following:

  • Interphase: The cell is carrying out day-to-day functions, and preparing to divide. The S Phase (S for synthesis) of interphase is the point at which chromosomes are duplicated in preparation for cell division.

  • Prophase: Each set of duplicated chromosomes (celled sister chromatids), condense and the mitotic spindle forms and attaches to each sister chromatid.

  • Metaphase: Sister chromatids line up at the cell equator.
  • Anaphase: Sister chromatids are pulled apart, and, once separated, are known as daughter chromosomes. The spindle pulls each daughter chromosome to opposite sides of the cell.

  • Telophase: A complete copy of the genome arrives at each end of the cell. Cytokinesis, the actual division of the cell, takes place, and chromosomes decondense.

  • Then the cell itself divides (cytokinesis), resulting in two daughter cells that, if without mutation, are identical to the parent cell that generated them.

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Fluoresced cell with chromosomes in metaphase of mitosis.  

Diagram of Mitosis
What Is Mitosis?
Mitosis is division of the somatic cells of eukaryotic organisms. Somatic cells are all cells of the body, other than the reproductive cells of sexually reproducing organisms—sperm and egg.

Although more complicated in it timing and execution, and involving more DNA, the basic result of mitosis is the same as that of binary fission—chomosomes are replicated, copies are moved to opposite ends of the parent cell, and then the parent cell divides, giving rise to two daughter cells that are identical to each other and to the parent cell. 

Page last updated: 3/2016
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Mitosis is how single celled eukaryotic organisms reproduce, and how multi-cellular eukaryotes develop, grow, and repair.

Illustrated overview of mitosis.
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