Why It Matters: Cell Division

Why describe and explain the various stages of cell division?

From the moment we are first conceived, our cells begin to divide. Cell division is key to life and takes place in stages. It is important to understand what happens in each stage of this process. A variety of steps and verifications must occur in proper sequence without error to ensure continued healthy growth of cells and organisms. When cell division goes awry, dramatic results may occur. Without sufficient cellular oversight, repeated rounds of unregulated cell division can lead to cancer.

One in four deaths in the United States is due to cancer. The cellular mechanism of cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of tumor cells via mitosis. Understanding cellular processes will help you understand treatment options and their side effects. By studying the cell cycle, eventually scientists might find more effective treatments.

Ok, let’s learn why we aren’t exactly like our parents!

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand chromosome structure and organization in eukaryotic cells.
  • Identify the stages of the cell cycle, by picture and by description of major milestones.
  • Identify and explain the important checkpoints that a cell passes through during the cell cycle.
  • Identify the stages of meiosis by picture and by description of major milestones; explain why meiosis involves two rounds of nuclear division.
  • Describe and explain a range of mechanisms for generating genetic diversity.
  • Examine karyotypes and identify the effects of significant changes in chromosome number.