Stages of Mitosis

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Late mitosis: Chromosomes (blue), microtubules (green) and kinetochores (pink). Other parts of the cell are invisible because they have not been stained.

During telophase (/"TEE-low-faze"/ or /"TELL-ə-faze"/), the last stage of mitosis, the chromosomes have reached the poles and they begin to uncoil and become less condensed (reversing the process that occurred during prophase). Two new nuclear envelopes begin to form around each of the two separated sets of unreplicated chromosomes. As decondensation of the chromosomes proceeds, the nucleoli (which disappeared during prophase) form once again. A nucleolus is a region within a nucleus where ribosomes are assembled from proteins and ribosomal RNA.

mitotic telophase
Cleavage Furrow

At the same time, there is a division of the cytoplasm (cytokinesis). In animal cells, a cleavage furrow — an indentation around the equator of the cell — appears (see photo left).

By the end of telophase, the cell has divided in two along the plane defined by the furrow. In terrestrial plants, instead of a cleavage furrow, a flat cell plate forms halfway between the two separated sets of chromosomes, dividing the cell into two daughter cells (see figure at right). Note that mitotic plant cells generally have a more rectangular appearance than those of animals.

Mitosis is now over. The next stage of the cell cycle is interphase, in which each of the chromatids produced during mitosis replicates in preparation for another round of cell division. Remember — interphase is not one of the stages of mitosis.

Etymology: The prefix telo- is from the Greek word telos, meaning end or completion. Some other common bio terms starting with this prefix are: telocentric chromosome, telomerase, and telomere.

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