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Cell Division and
Associate Professor Louise Lutze-Mann"
School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences"

Cell division"
Ø  The number of cells in the human is ~1 billion per
gram of tissue - all derived from a single cell - the
fertilised egg."
Ø  So, large numbers of cells must replicate often to
produce the adult human."
Ø  It is essential that this replication (the cell cycle) is
precisely regulated."
Ø  Cell cycle times vary for different cell types but for
most replicating human cells it is between 10 and 30
hours (for E.coli it is 20 mins!)"

Cell division in
bacteria – binary
DNA replication commences at the
origin of replication."
Replication of the chromosome
continues and each origin becomes
attached separately to the plasma
Once replication is complete, the
plasma membrane grows inward to
separate the 2 new daughter cells
and new cell wall is deposited."

The cell cycle"
Two phases:"
•  Interphase: growth
and replication of
cellular components"
•  Mitotic phase:
nucleus divides and
chromosomes are
distributed to daughter
cells (mitosis) and the
cytoplasm divides into
two daughter cells


DNA is packaged with proteins to form chromatin
and is then condensed for cell division"

Duplication and distribution of
chromosomes during mitosis"
•  Cell division requires
the replication of DNA
and all the cellular
•  Once the DNA is
replicated it condenses,
making the
chromosomes shorter
and thicker."

Mitosis video 1"

Mitosis video 2"


Mitotic cell division has distinct stages in animal cells"

Cytokinesis in animal and plant cells"

Mitosis (cont’d)"

Cell cycle checkpoints ensure that the cell only
divides when it should - e.g. DNA is replicated and
not damaged, sufficient nutrients are available."


Cell division in the embryo"

Apoptosis - programmed cell death"
Apoptosis removes
unwanted cells

It also removes
damaged cells
throughout life

•  Somatic cells (all cells except
sperm and ova) have 46
chromosomes (2n)."
•  Gametes (sperm and ova) have
half this number (n) so that when
they fuse at fertilization, the
correct chromosome number will
be maintained."

Meiosis video"

•  The process for producing cells
with half the number of
chromosomes (2n -> n) is called


Genetic variation arises during the process
of meiosis"

But wait, there’s more!

Crossing over increases the variability"

During meiosis,
chromosomes can
exchange genetic
information, in a process
called crossing over. 

This produces
chromosomes which
now combine
information inherited
from each parent."