Meaning of Mitosis

What is Mitosis:

In biology, mitosis is known as the process of cell division by which 2 identical daughter cells are generated from 1 mother cell, prior duplication and equitable distribution of genetic material.

The word mitosis, as such, is composed from the Greek voice μιτοῦν (mitoûn), which means ‘to weave’, and the suffix -sis.

Characteristics of mitosis

Mitosis is characterized by being the process of duplication and equal distribution of the genetic information contained in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), in each of the daughter cells produced by cell division.

In eukaryotic cells, mitosis begins with the doubling of the material contained in the nucleus.

Mitosis, as such, is the foundation of growth, development and the body’s ability to regenerate. It is essential for asexual reproduction, which means that the new cells it produces have identical genetic material.

Mitosis in the cell cycle

Mitosis is part of the cell cycle, the latter being the continuous and fundamental life cycle for the asexual reproduction of all the cells that make up an organism. This cell cycle is made up of two stages:

  • the interfacewhich is the time during which duplication of genetic material occurs, and
  • the M phase or mitotic phase: It is subdivided into 2 large processes known as mitosis, equal distribution of duplicated genetic material in interphase, and cytokinesis, division of the cytoplasm.
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phases of mitosis

Mitosis, for its part, is in turn subdivided into four phases or stages: prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase. Namely:

  1. Prophase: the condensation of the genetic material takes place, which will gradually acquire a certain form known as a chromosome. In addition, the mitotic spindle begins to form.
  2. metaphase: mitotic spindle fibers arrange the chromosomes throughout the cell’s nuclear milieu, helping to prepare the ground for the next phase, when the chromosomes separate.
  3. Anaphase: the distribution of the two copies of the original genetic information occurs. The pairs of chromosomes separate and move to opposite sides of the cell.
  4. telophase: Both chromosomes reach the opposite poles of the cell, and new membranes are formed around their nuclei.

See also Chromosome.

Next, occurs the cytokinesis, which is not, strictly speaking, part of the mitosis process. Cytokinesis overlaps with the final stages of mitosis (anaphase or telophase) and ends after telophase.

In cytokinesis, the cytoplasm is divided to form the two daughter cells that will have a complete copy of the genome of the parent cell.

See also:

  • Cellular cycle.
  • Cytokinesis.

mitosis and meiosis

Mitosis and meiosis are two different forms of cell division. Mitosis is the asexual division of diploid (2n) cells, through which two new cells with identical genetic material are produced.

Meiosis is a cell division process where haploid (1n) cells or also known as male and female gametes are produced. This means that to form a complete diploid set, that is, a homologous pair, it is necessary to combine a male gamete, such as the spermatozoon, with a female gamete, such as the ovum.

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Combined with fertilization, meiosis is the basis of sexual reproduction and genetic variability.

The importance of meiosis lies in the fact that it is responsible for genetic variability and, consequently, for the ability of species to evolve.