Cell Cycle

Edited by Jamie (ScienceAid Editor), Taylor (ScienceAid Editor), Jen Moreau, Sim

The Cycles of a Cell

The cell cycle is the name for the life of a cell. It can be divided into several different stages, as represented on the following diagram.


This is the stage of the cell cycle where no division takes place; as the diagram above shows, the cell spends most of its time in this stage. During this stage the cell grows, and towards the end, (as mitosis is about to occur), DNA will replicate.

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This stage can be further subdivided into 4 stages:

  • Prophase.
  • Metaphase.
  • Anaphase.
  • Telophase.

Have a look at the diagrams so you will be able to identify each stage in an exam situation.

  1. 1
    During the prophase, the nuclear membrane, which is the membrane surrounding the nucleus, begins to disappear. Spindles begin to develop, and most importantly, the DNA condenses from a spaghetti-like mess, to the distinct chromosomes you can see.
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  2. 2
    The next stage is the metaphase, where the nuclear membrane has disappeared and the chromosomes line up on the cell equator.
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  3. 3
    Right on the heels of the metaphase, is the anaphase. During this phase, the spindle fibres pull apart the chromatids to opposite poles of the cell.
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  4. 4
    During this final stage, a nuclear membrane forms around the sets of chromosome and the cell begins to divide into two.
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Cytokinesis marks the end of cell division and is a completely separate stage from mitosis. It's where the cytoplasm splits and the one cell becomes two daughter cells.

  • In animal cells a cleavage furrow forms where the cell pinches in at the equator and separates off.
  • In plant cells the cell wall means things are slightly different. A cell plate forms between the two and it later separates.

Cytokinesis in animal and plant cells is shown below.

Questions and Answers

Which part of the cell cycle is taking place when the chromosomes line up on the equator of the cell?

I tried to look for this answer everywhere and anywhere, but I cannot find the solution to my problem!! It is not at all written in the article, I have looked through thoroughly and properly but no answer or solution found yet.

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The phase, where the chromosomes are gathered at the equator, is the Metaphase. This process of cell alignment happens during mitosis (division of somatic cells) and during meiosis (division of sex cells; gametes).

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Referencing this Article

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Cell Cycle. (2017). In ScienceAid. Retrieved Feb 27, 2024, from https://scienceaid.net/biology/cell/cycle.html

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Article Info

Categories : Cell

Recent edits by: Jen Moreau, Taylor (ScienceAid Editor), Jamie (ScienceAid Editor)

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