This experiment compares and contrasts mitosis and meiosis, explores the stages of the cell cycle, and provides an introduction to karyotyping.
Cell division allows single-celled organisms to replicate and pass on genetic information to the next generation. In individual bacteria and archaea, cell division usually occurs via binary fission. Cell division requires prokaryotic cells to successfully undergo cytokinesis (division of the cytoplasm) and replicate their chromosomes. Dividing eukaryotes must manage a complicated process of duplicating cell organelles (including the nucleus) as well as multiple chromosomes.
In mitosis, the two daughter cells each have the same number of chromosomes as the parent nucleus, while in meiosis, four daughter cells are produced, each with half the amount of chromosomes as the parent nucleus. Normally, the genetic information in one of an organism’s body cells is identical to that found in the organism’s other body cells. In asexual reproduction, the cells of the offspring are clones (genetically identical to their parents). The cell cycle is controlled by a cyclically operating set of molecules in the cell that both triggers and coordinates key events in the cell cycle. Complexes made of several specific proteins regulate the cell cycle very precisely.
Karyotype Sheet #5