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

Life in evolution's fast lane

Most living things have a suite of genes dedicated to repairing their DNA, limiting the rate at which their genomes change through time. But scientists at Vanderbilt and University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered an ...

Researchers unravel mechanisms that control cell size

Working with bacteria, a multidisciplinary team at the University of California San Diego has provided new insight into a longstanding question in science: What are the underlying mechanisms that control the size of cells?

Developing cells do synchronized swimming inside the embryo

The very beginnings of life inside a tiny developing embryo are mesmerizing to watch. Each movement and biochemical reaction is executed with well-ordered precision about 95 percent of the time, leading to the development ...

Plants grow less in hotter temperatures

Plants have developed a robust system that stops their cell cycle in hostile environments such as abnormally hot temperatures. In response, they direct their energy to survival rather than growth. A new study led by scientists ...

New tool allows scientists to catch elusive protein in action

Like many of the processes that drive a cell's basic functions, those enabling the splitting of a newly-replicated cell into two, shown above, happen quickly. So quickly, in fact, that scientists often have a hard time pinpointing ...

Researchers make important cell division discovery

Researchers at the University of Dundee have provided important new insights into the regulation of cell division, which may ultimately lead to a better understanding of cancer progression.

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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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