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Mitosis and the Cell Cycle

Updated on January 1, 2013


  • Mitosis is the process in which two genetically identical daughter cells are produced form one parent cell nucleus.

  • This process is divided into 6 stages which occur in the following order:

  • Interphase - Prophase - Metaphase - Anaphase - Telophase - Cytokinesis

  • Below I will go into more detail about each individual stage and what occurs during it.


Most Eukaryotic cells spend the majority of their time in this phase.

During interphase there are 3 separate stages:


  • During this stage the cell 'grows' and a lot of protein synthesis occurs.
  • The chromosomes are all unreplicated and each contains only one molecule of DNA.


  • This is the period when the cell replicates its DNA
  • Once this stage has been completed all of the chromosomes have two chromatids.


  • Growth continues and the organelles replicate in preparation for the cell to divide during mitosis.
  • The proteins necessary for cell division (such as those that form the microtubules/spindle fibres) are produced.


  • In prophase the chromosomes shorten and thicken and become visible under a light microscope.

  • The nuclear envelope breaks down and disappears.

  • The centriole (an organelle in the cell) divides into two and each part moves to different poles of the cell to form the spindle.

  • The centrioles are made of protein threads.


  • The pairs of homologous chromosomes are now as tightly coiled and condensed as they will be in meiosis.

  • The chromosomes move to the central region of the spindle (equator).

  • The chromosomes become attached to the spindle thread by its centromere.

  • The centromere is the part of the chromosome that links the sister chromatids.


  • In this stage the centromere that holds together the sister chromatids split.

  • This effectively makes each 'sister' chromatid an individual chromosome.

  • Both chromosomes are identical to each other an and the parent cell from which it was copied.

  • The spindle fibres that are attached to the chromosomes shorten and pull the chromosomes towards the opposite poles of the cell.

Telophase and Cytokinesis

  • As the separated chromosomes reach the opposite poles of the cell a new nuclear envelope forms around each set.

  • The spindle breaks down and disappears.

  • The chromosomes uncoil and once again become not visible under the light microscope.

  • The whole cell splits into two to form two new cells containing full sets of chromosomes, this is called cytokinesis.

The Cell Cycle


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    • Anthropophobia profile image

      Anthropophobia 5 years ago

      Thank you, I'm glad that it could be of use to you.

      Good luck with the lecture!

    • Joyus Crynoid profile image

      Joyus Crynoid 5 years ago from Eden

      Nice summary with good illustrations--I will provide my students with the url to this in a lecture that I'm giving in a couple of weeks, in a short course on developmental biology.