Outcome: The Cell Cycle

Identify the stages of the cell cycle, by picture and by description of major milestones.

The cell cycle is an ordered series of events involving cell growth and cell division that produces two new daughter cells. Cells on the path to cell division proceed through a series of precisely timed and carefully regulated stages of growth, DNA replication, and division that produces two identical (clone) cells. The cell cycle has two major phases: interphase and the mitotic phase (Figure 1). During interphase, the cell grows and DNA is replicated. During the mitotic phase, the replicated DNA and cytoplasmic contents are separated, and the cell divides.

Like a clock, the cell cycles from interphase to the mitotic phase and back to interphase. Most of the cell cycle is spent in interphase, which is subdivided into G_{1}, S, and G_{2} phases. Cell growth occurs during G_{1}, DNA synthesis occurs during S, and more growth occurs during G_{2}. The mitotic phase consists of mitosis, in which the nuclear chromatin is divided, and cytokinesis, in which the cytoplasm is divided, resulting in two daughter cells.

Figure 1. The cell cycle consists of interphase and the mitotic phase. During interphase, the cell grows and the nuclear DNA is duplicated. Interphase is followed by the mitotic phase. During the mitotic phase, the duplicated chromosomes are segregated and distributed into daughter nuclei. The cytoplasm is usually divided as well, resulting in two daughter cells.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Identify the characteristics and sub-phases of interphase.
  • Identify the characteristics and stages of mitosis.
  • Identify the characteristics of cytokinesis.

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Reading: Interphase
  • Reading: Mitosis
  • Reading: Cytokinesis
  • Reading: The Complete Cycle
  • Self Check: The Cell Cycle