The Complete Cycle

Remember, mitosis is the process of cell division, but it’s just a portion of the full cell cycle. Figure 1 shows approximately how long a cell spends in each stage of the cell cycle:

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.

As you can see, cells spend most of their time in interphase.

Video Review: The Cell Cycle

This video reviews all the steps of mitosis; seeing it all together is a great review at this stage.