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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mitosis is part of the cell cycle, and the cell cycle guides the development and reproduction of cells.  The entire cycle is traditionally divided into three parts.  Those parts are interphase, mitosis, and cytokinesis.  

Interphase is subdivided into three smaller phases.  Those phases are G1, S (synthesis), and G2.

Following interphase, the cell will begin undergoing mitosis.  Mitosis is often called cellular division, and it has four main stages.  The four stages of mitosis are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.

During prophase, the chromosomes condense and become visible, the mitotic spindle begins forming, and the nuclear membrane breaks down.  

During metaphase, the chromosomes are lined up at the middle of the cell. They are ready to be pulled apart by the spindle.  It's important to note that at this point in mitosis, the chromosomes are paired up with chromosome copies called sister chromatids.  

Next comes anaphase.  During anaphase, the sister chromatids are pulled apart by the spindle.  The now separated chromosomes are pulled to opposite sides of the cell.

The final stage of mitosis is telophase.  During this phase, the spindle breaks apart, two new nuclei begin forming around the chromosomes, and the chromosomes begin to "decondense."

Cytokinesis follows mitosis.  Technically, cytokinesis can start during telophase, so it tends to overlap with mitosis a bit.  Cytokinesis is the final division of the cytoplasm into two distinct cells.  

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