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This is because later. Each chromosome is made up of only one chromatid and half of the total chromosome are paternal and half maternal. producing two haploid cells (N chromosomes. The exchange of information between the non-sister chromatids results in a recombination of information. from Greek words meaning "moving through". Other than this observation. Prophase I During prophase I. from Greek words meaning "thick threads". each of which contain half the number of chromosomes as the original cell. which have two chromosomes and four chromatids. However the two sister chromatids are still so tightly bound that they are indistinguishable from one another. function . which have already duplicated. at the chromosome ends(proterminal). from Greek words meaning "two threads” the synaptonemal complex degrades and homologous chromosomes separate from one another a little. The chiasmata remain on the chromosomes until they are severed in anaphase I. Darlington called it "bouquet stage". each chromosome has the complete set of information it had before. lateral elements of the synaptonemal complexassemble. the regions where crossing-over occurred. Zygotene The zygotene stage. which were duplicated during S-phase. the synapsis (pairing/coming together) of homologous chromosomes takes place. creating a total of 4 haploid cells (23 chromosomes. fungi. non-sister chromatids may cross-over at points called chiasmata (plural. it is only considered as being N. Meiosis begins when the chromosomes. although the cell contains 46 chromatids. the homologous chromosomes of each bivalent remain tightly bound at chiasmata. Synchronous processes During these stages. At the beginning chromosomes are present in diploid number as in mitotic prophase. Sites of crossing over entangle together.occurs as the chromosomes approximately line up with each other into homologous chromosome pairs. two centrosomes. For every paternal chromosome there is a corresponding maternal chromosome similar in size. the sister chromatids will remain together as the spindle fibres pull the pair toward the pole of the new cell. At the sites where exchange happens. from Greek words meaning "paired threads". making chiasmata clearly visible. also known as diplonema. This is called the bouquet stage because of the way the telomeres cluster at one end of the nucleus. Because the chromosomes cannot be distinguished in the synaptonemal complex. whereby some of their genetic material is exchanged. with 23 chromosomes. the nucleolidisappear. also known as zygonema. migrate to the two poles of the cell. chiasmata form. However. Pachytene The pachytene stage. and there are no gaps formed as a result of the process. each of these two cells also divides into two cells. and condense into visible strands within the nucleus. In meiosis II. also known as leptonema. C. Leptotene is of very short duration and progressive condensation and coiling of chromosome fibers takes place. so meiosis I is referred to as a reductional division. The pairs of chromosomes then separate and move to opposite ends of the cell. These centrosomes. however. leading to the production of gametes in animals and spores in plants. facilitated by assembly of central element of the synaptonemal the stage when chromosomal crossover(crossing over) occurs. Phases Meiosis is divided into meiosis I and meiosis II which are further divided into Karyokinesis I and Cytokinesis I & Karyokinesis II and Cytokinesis II respectively. Diakinesis Chromosomes condense further during the diakinesis stage. In human fetal oogenesis all developing oocytes develop to this stage and stop before birth. the nuclear membrane disintegrates into vesicles. singular chiasma). containing a pair of centrioles in animal cells. This suspended state is referred to as thedictyotene stage and remains so until puberty. During leptotene. A regular diploid human cell contains 46 chromosomes and is considered 2N because it contains 23 pairs of homologous chromosomes. In animal cells the chromosomes touch the undersurface of nuclear envelope by their telomeres pointing towards the centrioles forming loops. 23 in humans). N) . This often results in chromosomal crossover. Meiosis thus produces four cells. At this stage. the actual act of crossing over is not perceivable through the microscope. Leptotene The first stage of prophase I is the leptotene stage.two from each daughter cell from the first division. an equational division similar to mitosis will occur whereby the sister chromatids are finally split. and pairs of homologous chromosomes undergo crossing over. At this stage. and the cell itself divides into two cells. In the second stage. The new combinations of DNA created during crossover are a significant source of genetic variation. However. individual chromosomes—each consisting of two sister chromatids—change from the diffuse state they exist in during the cell's period of growth and gene expression. and most algae (the haploid spores grow into organisms that produce gametes by mitosis). D. from Greek words meaning "thin threads"In this stage of prophase I. in Anaphase I. Diplotene During the diplotene stage. Meiosis I Meiosis I separates homologous chromosomes. Sex chromosomes. The paired chromosomes are called Bivalent or tetrad chromosome. Meiosis involves two consecutive divisions of the nucleus and leads to the production of reproductive cells (gametes) in animals and to the formation of spores in plants. and only exchange information over a small region of homology. also known as pachynema. and may result in beneficial new combinations of alleles. after meiosis I. Thus pairing is highly specific and exact. allowing some transcription of DNA. shape and nature of inherited characters and are called homologous chromosome. Individuals of a pair are equal in length and in position of centromere.or at any other portion(intermediate). Chromosome assume a long thread like shape. condense along the center of the nucleus. and chiasmata are not visible until the next stage. Nonsister chromatids of homologous chromosomes randomly exchange segments over regions of homology. Pairing is brought about by a zipper like fashion and may start at the centromere(procentric).MEIOSIS The process of cell division in sexually reproducing organisms that reduces the number of chromosomes in reproductive cells from diploid to haploid. The paired and replicated chromosomes are called bivalents or tetrads. and the meiotic spindle begins to form. they contract and become thick. Some or all of the four cells may become functional gametes or spores. DNA is exchanged between homologous chromosomes in a process called homologous recombination. effectively overlapping. are not wholly identical. with one chromosome coming from each parent. The chromosomes themselves uncoil a bit. the rest of the stage closely resembles prometaphase of mitosis.This is the first point in meiosis where the four parts of the tetrads are actually visible.

Meiosis is now complete and ends up with four new daughter cells. Anaphase II. The four main steps of Meiosis II are: Prophase II. These cells have two paired sets of 23 chromosomes. each of which contains a complete copy of the parental chromosomes. Mechanically. they are often contrasted with cytokinesis. and is marked by uncoiling and lengthening of the chromosomes and the disappearance of the spindle. severing the recombination nodules and pulling homologous chromosomes apart. Metaphase II. whole chromosomes are pulled toward opposing poles. When a cell undergoes mitosis. Telophase I The last meiotic division effectively ends when the chromosomes arrive at the poles. continues to grow as it duplicates its chromosomes (S). like a train on a track. the centromeres contain two kinetochores that attach to spindle fibers from the centrosomes (centrioles) at each pole. Mitosis is the process by which the nucleus divides in eukaryotic organisms. mainly via proteins. In metaphase II. All these phases in the interphase are highly regulated. and a new nuclear membrane surrounds each haploid set. Since each chromosome has only one functional unit of a pair of kinetochores. where the centromeres are cleaved. identical strands of DNA. the pinching of the cell membrane in animal cells or the formation of the cell wall in plant cells. and telophase. pulling the chromosome along the attached microtubule toward the originating centriole. a cell grows (G1). Nuclear envelopes reform and cleavage or cell wall formation eventually produces a total of four daughter cells. typically consisting of four stages. It alternates with the much longerinterphase. but the pair of kinetochores on each sister chromatid fuses and functions as a unit during meiosis I. which are essentially cellular ropes and poles. completing the creation of two daughter cells. where the cell prepares itself for cell division. The phases follow one another in strict order and there are "checkpoints" that give the cell the cues to proceed from one phase to another. the aster microtubules. or 46 chromosomes in total. allowing microtubules attached to the kinetochores to pull the sister chromatids apart. Cells may enter a period of rest known as interkinesis or interphase II. The sister chromatids by convention are now called sister chromosomes as they move toward opposing poles. each with a haploid set of chromosomes. PHASES OF CELL CYCLE AND MITOSIS Interphase The mitotic phase is a relatively short period of the cell cycle. The new equatorial metaphase plate is rotated by 90 degrees when compared to meiosis I. Preprophase . (Cells with two sets of chromosomes are called diploid. chromosomes are replicated only during the S phase. the genetic material in each chromosome is duplicated as part of the normal functioning of the cell. the chromosomes condense into 46 compact bodies.) Before cell division occurs. metaphase. Each chromosome then consists of two chromatids. and finally it divides (M) before restarting the cycle. the cell grows by producing proteins and cytoplasmic organelles. and normally resulting in two new nuclei. Each chromosome still contains a pair of sister chromatids. MITOSIS The process in cell division by which the nucleus divides. The physical basis of the independent assortment of chromosomes is the random orientation of each bivalent along the metaphase plate. the process is similar to mitosis. anaphase. The microtubules invade the nuclear region after the nuclear envelope disintegrates. which is similar to telophase I. N * each of the chromosomes consisting of two sister chromatids) produced in meiosis I. Other microtubules will interact with microtubules from the opposite centriole: these are called nonkinetochore microtubules or polar microtubules. prophase. The process ends with telophase II. and one chromatid from each of the 46 chromosomes moves to each side of the cell as it prepares to divide. There are four kinetochores on each tetrad. During all three phases. While both mitosis and meiosis refer properly to types of nuclear division. with respect to the orientation of the other bivalents along the same equatorial line. though its genetic results are fundamentally different. The chromatids then separate. The end result is production of four haploid cells (23 chromosomes. No DNA replication occurs during this stage. (two complete sets of 23) just like the parent cell. In prophase II we see the disappearance of the nucleoli and the nuclear envelope again as well as the shortening and thickening of the chromatids. When mitosis and meiosis are used to refer specifically to nuclear division. Thus. perpendicular to the previous plate. This is followed by anaphase II. and G2 (second gap). Anaphase I Kinetochore (bipolar spindles) microtubules shorten. producing two new nuclei that are genetically identical to the nucleus of the parent cell. Meiosis II Meiosis II is the second part of the meiotic process. The cell elongates in preparation for division down the center. forming two haploid sets. Each daughter cell now has half the number of chromosomes but each chromosome consists of a pair of chromatids. pushing the centrioles farther apart. grows more and prepares for mitosis (G2). However. Metaphase I Homologous pairs move together along the metaphase plate: As kinetochore microtubules from both centrioles attach to their respective microtubule organizing centers nucleating microtubules. Centrioles move to the polar regions and arrange spindle fibers for the second meiotic division. Nonkinetochore microtubules lengthen. and Telophase II. they are often used as shorthand to refer to the entire processes of cell division themselves. S (synthesis). It occurs in cell division carried on by human somatic cells the cells used for the maintenance and growth of the body. the homologous chromosomes align along an equatorial plane that bisects the spindle. The chromatids form the chromosomes of the daughter cells. The kinetochore functions as a motor. Sister chromatids remain attached during telophase I. Interphase is divided into three phases: G1 (first gap). Microtubules that attach to the kinetochores are known as kinetochore microtubules. The chromosomes uncoil back into chromatin. occurs. due to continuous counterbalancing forces exerted on the bivalents by the microtubules emanating from the two kinetochores of homologous chromosomes. Also called karyokinesis. The microtubules that make up the spindle network disappear. the division of the cytoplasm. Cytokinesis. radiates from the centrosome into the cytoplasm or contacts components of the membrane skeleton. attaching to the chromosomes at the kinetochore. so that each new cell has 46 chromosomes. A third type of microtubules. N in humans) from the two haploid cells (23 chromosomes.

it is known that it contains some form of molecular motor. A new nuclear envelope. the cell proceeds to anaphase (from the Greek ανα meaning “up. In highly vacuolated plant cells. Mitosis is complete. on an average 20 ). the genetic material in the nucleus is in a loosely bundled coil called chromatin. Chromosomes are typically visible at high magnification through a light microscope. although there is a theory that suggests that the rapid assembly and breakdown of microtubules may cause this movement. Corresponding sister chromosomes attach at opposite ends of the cell.In plant cells only.” or “re-”). and centrosomes are not always used in mitosis. unfold back into chromatin. prophase is preceded by a pre-prophase stage. In certain types of cells. since they are absent from plants. The centromeres of the chromosomes. Fungi and some protists.” “back. the cell has succeeded in separating identical copies of the genetic material into two distinct populations. In addition to phragmosome formation. As a result. Next. The force that causes the centrosomes to move towards the ends of the cell is still unknown. chromosomes do not line up at the metaphase plate and instead move back and forth between the poles randomly. analogous to a tug-of-war between people of equal strength. Telophase Telophase (from the Greek τελος meaning "end") is a reversal of prophase and prometaphase events. in some sense. This motor activity. instead. it is thought that unattached kinetochores generate a signal to prevent premature progression to anaphase without all chromosomes being aligned. undergo a variation called closed mitosis where the spindle forms inside the nucleus. Cytokinesis is technically not even a phase of mitosis. A number ofnonkinetochore microtubules find and interact with corresponding nonkinetochore microtubules from the opposite centrosome to form the mitotic spindle. only roughly lining up along the midline.” “against. When the spindle grows to sufficient length. Molecular motor proteins then push the centrosomes along these microtubules to opposite sides of the cell. but cell division is not yet complete. The centrosome is the coordinating center for the cell'smicrotubules. or its microtubules are able to penetrate an intact nuclear envelope. Because proper chromosome separation requires that every kinetochore be attached to a bundle of microtubules (spindle fibres). elongating the cell even more. At the onset of prophase. This even alignment is due to the counterbalance of the pulling powers generated by the opposing kinetochores. cytokinesis is a separate process that begins at the same time as telophase. which are made of a pair of centriolesfound in most eukaryotic animal cells. Prophase Normally. This is called open mitosis. microtubules form a spindle on the surface of the nucleus and are then organized into a spindle by the chromosomes themselves. A cell inherits a single centrosome at cell division. the replicated chromosomes have two sister chromatids." Microtubules find and attach to kinetochores in prometaphase. bound together at the centromere by thecohesin protein complex. such as algae or trichomonads. forms around each set of separated sister chromosomes. convene along the metaphase plate or equatorial plane. the nonkinetochore microtubules continue to lengthen. kinetochore microtubules begin searching for kinetochores to attach to. an imaginary line that is equidistant from the two centrosome poles. The two centrosomes nucleate microtubules (which may be thought of as cellular ropes or poles) to form the spindle by polymerizing soluble tubulin. Close to the nucleus are structures called centrosomes. At the end of anaphase. however. Prometaphase The nuclear envelope disassembles and microtubules invade the nuclear space. and it occurs in most multicellular organisms. one attached at each chromatid. This band marks the position where the cell will eventually divide. and are pulled apart by shortening kinetochore microtubules and move toward the respective centrosomes to which they are attached. Two events then occur: first. provides the pulling force necessary to later separate the chromosome's two chromatids. after the nuclear membrane breaks down. which is replicated by the cell with the help of the nucleus before a new mitosis begins. chromatin condenses together into a highly ordered structure called a chromosome. Prometaphase is sometimes considered part of prophase. it is the point where microtubules attach themselves to the chromosome ( about 1-40 in number. preprophase is characterized by the formation of a ring of microtubules and actin filaments (called preprophase band) underneath the plasma membrane around the equatorial plane of the future mitotic spindle. the chromosomes come under longitudinal tension from the two ends of the cell. Each chromosome forms two kinetochores at the centromere. coupled with polymerisation and depolymerisation of microtubules. The preprophase band disappears during nuclear envelope disassembly and spindle formation in prometaphase. The centrosome acts as the "reel" that draws in the spindle fibers or "fishing line". the nonkinetochore microtubules elongate. Although centrioles help organize microtubule assembly. the motor activates. they are not essential for the formation of the spindle. The signal creates the mitotic spindle checkpoint. the kinetochore would be the "hook" that catches a sister chromatid or "fish". the nucleus has to migrate into the center of the cell before mitosis can begin. but . Although the kinetochore structure and function are not fully understood. It "cleans up" the after effects of mitosis. The cells of higher plants (such as the flowering plants) lack centrioles. Anaphase When every kinetochore is attached to a cluster of microtubules and the chromosomes have lined up along the metaphase plate. In the fishing pole analogy. now surrounded by new nuclei. Metaphase Metaphase comes from the Greek μετα meaning "after. When a microtubule connects with the kinetochore. These two stages are sometimes called early and late anaphase. while late anaphase is the elongation of the microtubules and the chromosomes being pulled farther apart. A kinetochore is a complex protein structure that is analogous to a ring for the microtubule hook. Early anaphase is usually defined as the separation of the sister chromatids. using energy from ATP to "crawl" up the tube toward the originating centrosome. Both sets of chromosomes. Then the two centrosomes start pulling the chromosomes through their attached centromeres towards the two ends of the cell. It is also one of the main phases of mitosis because without it cytokinesis would not be able to occur. At telophase. This is achieved through the formation of a phragmosome. pulling the centrosomes (and the set of chromosomes to which they are attached) apart to opposite ends of the cell. using fragments of the parent cell's nuclear membrane. the proteins that bind sister chromatids together are cleaved. These sister chromatids now become separate daughter chromosomes. Since the genetic material has already been duplicated earlier in S phase. a transverse sheet of cytoplasm that bisects the cell along the future plane of cell division. Cytokinesis Cytokinesis is often mistakenly thought to be the final part of telophase. giving a pair of centrosomes.

necessary for completing cell division. In both animal and plant cells. a cleavage furrow (pinch) containing a contractile ring develops where the metaphase plate used to be. whereas some green algae use a phycoplast microtubule array during cytokinesis. which move along microtubules to the middle of the cell. The phragmoplast is a microtubule structure typical for higher plants. The end of cytokinesis marks the end of the M-phase. In animal cells. pinching off the separated nuclei. . separating the two nuclei. cell division is also driven by vesicles derived from the Golgi apparatus.rather a separate process. In plants this structure coalesces into a cell plate at the center of the phragmoplastand develops into a cell wall. Each daughter cell has a complete copy of the genome of its parent cell.