Stages of Mitosis
EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD Google+ Profile
During interphase, the chromosomes, which are made of heterochromatin and euchromatin, are contained in the nucleus (see video above).
But as mitosis begins, the nuclear envelope starts to break up and disappear. Each chromosome has replicated during interphase and is therefore composed of two sister chromatids containing identical genetic information.
Early during prophase, the first stage of mitosis, the chromosomes become visible with a light microscope as they condense (that is, as they shorten, coil, and thicken). Also, a spindle apparatus (blue strands in the upper two figures at left) begins to extend outward from each of the two centrosomes. These starlike configurations, composed of radiating microtubules, are also known as asters — Greek for stars — (see photomicrograph of asters >>).
After the nuclear envelope has disappeared, proteins bind to the centromeres to make the kinetochores. Microtubules attach at the kinetochores and the chromosomes begin to move.
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