The Cell Cycle

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  • Hello, sir. I have discovered something amazing! As you probably know , all life on Earth is divided into tiny pieces called cells. You know how living organisms have a life cycle? Well, cells have a life cycle too! The first stage is called interphase, and in it the cell performs normal life functions.
  • So that's why you brought those diagrams!
  • Alright, today I'm going to tell you about mitosis. Your father already knows about interphase, but mitosis is new. I've recently discovered it. The first stage of mitosis is prophase, and in it the cell's genetic material, which I'm calling DNA, forms into chromosomes. In interphase, the DNA duplicated, now it forms chromosomes.
  • Three days later, the wealthy lord has hired the discoverer of the cell cycle to teach his children.
  • Why do I have to learn this?
  • Actually it is. The cell cycle is happening in our bodies, although our cells are probably in interphase right now. But, they might be in metaphase, the next stage of mitosis. In metaphase, the chromosomes line up in the middle of the cell, and spindle fibers form.
  • I'm leaving. This is boring. It's not even important anyway.
  • Now, the cytoplasm splits and we have two cells! Each cell goes back into interphase. When the cytoplasm splits, it's called cytokinesis.
  • Finally! Classes are almost done!
  • No, not yet. The cell first has to duplicate its nucleus, which has reformed. There is one nucleus per side of the cell. This is telophase. Also, the cell membrane has started pinching around the sides of the cell.
  • And then the cell splits?
  • Oh! I've forgotten to teach that. Well, the spindle fibers come from centrioles, another organelle in the cell. And the nucleus has dissolved, but there wasn't enough room to show that on my diagram. It's good to see you're enjoying learning, though.
  • And then, it's anaphase. In anaphase, the spindle fibers attach to the chromosomes and pull one to each side.
  • But what are spindle fibers? And where did the nucleus go?
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