Related topics: cells · chromosomes · protein · cancer cells · genes

New insights into centromere structure

Researchers led by Osaka University used cryogenic electron microscopy to analyze the atomic structure of the centromeric region of the chromosome, essential for cell division. A protein called CENP-A marks the centromere; ...

Study shows how cells prevent harmful extra copies of DNA

A protein that prepares DNA for replication also prevents the replication process from running out of control, according to a new study by Weill Cornell Medicine researchers. The work, published Jan. 5 in Molecular Cell, ...

Methane 'gobbling' microorganism is a shape shifter

A microorganism that helps reduce the release of the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere has been found to be a "shape shifter" capable of markedly changing its appearance and metabolism to rapidly respond to changes ...

Enzyme 'atlas' helps researchers decipher cellular pathways

One of the most important classes of human enzymes are protein kinases—signaling molecules that regulate nearly all cellular activities, including growth, cell division, and metabolism. Dysfunction in these cellular pathways ...

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Cell division

Cell division is a process by which a cell, called the parent cell, divides into two or more cells, called daughter cells. Cell division is usually a small segment of a larger cell cycle. This type of cell division in eukaryotes is known as mitosis, and leaves the daughter cell capable of dividing again. The corresponding sort of cell division in prokaryotes is known as binary fission. In another type of cell division present only in eukaryotes, called meiosis, a cell is permanently transformed into a gamete and cannot divide again until fertilization. For simple unicellular organisms such as the amoeba, one cell division is equivalent to reproduction-- an entire new organism is created. On a larger scale, mitotic cell division can create progeny from multicellular organisms, such as plants that grow from cuttings. Cell division also enables sexually reproducing organisms to develop from the one-celled zygote, which itself was produced by cell division from gametes. And after growth, cell division allows for continual construction and repair of the organism. A human being's body experiences about 10,000 trillion cell divisions in a lifetime.

The primary concern of cell division is the maintenance of the original cell's genome. Before division can occur, the genomic information which is stored in chromosomes must be replicated, and the duplicated genome separated cleanly between cells. A great deal of cellular infrastructure is involved in keeping genomic information consistent between "generations".

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