During cytokinesis, animal cells form a structure between the two daughter cells called a cleavage furrow. A cleavage furrow forms when the cytoskeleton pulls the plasma membrane inward. Plant cells form a cell plate between the two daughter cells by fusing together vesicles.
Cytokinesis follows the process of mitosis. In mitosis, a cell divides its genetic material to produce two daughter cells that are identical to the parent. This process is necessary for growth and for the replacement of cells that have been damaged. Though plant and animal cells differ slightly in the final stage of creating two completely separate daughter cells, the process of mitosis in both plant and animal cells is very similar.
Prior to cell division, the cell copies its DNA in the nucleus. This creates a duplicate of each genetic instruction needed for a cell to carry out its daily activities. In the first stage of mitosis, the nuclear membrane dissolves, allowing the DNA to be moved to the middle of the cell. Once the DNA lines up in the middle of the cell, the copies are pulled to opposite poles of the cell. Once moved to opposite poles, a nuclear membrane forms around each group, and the cell is ready to proceed to cytokinesis.