The process of cell division in plants and animals is very similar as regards the replication and separation of the nucleus and other organelles, but the actual process of dividing the cytoplasm differs. In animal cells, the cytoplasm of the two daughter cells is essentially pinched apart by a ring of actin and myosin proteins pulling the cell membrane closed. Plant cells separate their cytoplasm by building a wall instead.
The process of cell division is completed in five stages. One is able to remind themselves of the stages with the abbreviation PMATI. The phases of cell division this abbreviation represents are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase and interphase.
Prophase is the preparation for cell division. The cell replicates its DNA and arranges centrioles properly for division. During metaphase, the cells continues to align other parts of itself for division, and the DNA condenses into chromosomes. Anaphase is when the real action happens. The chromosomes separate to opposite sides of the cell, and the splitting begins. Telophase is when the membrane of the cells closes around the new, separate cells. Interphase is the resting of the cell. During this phase, it focuses on surviving and preparing for a future cell division.
The two types of cell division in plant and animal cells are mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis is the basic type of cell division that tissues use to grow and replenish themselves, and which single-celled eukaryotes use to reproduce. Meiosis is the type of cell division plants and animals use to produce gametes for sexual reproduction. The steps of both types are basically the same, except that the production of gametes halves the genetic information in each resulting cell. The resulting gametes are often very different from their parent cells in form.
Regardless of the type of cell division, the process of actually dividing the cytoplasm, known as cytokinesis, remains similar The method of cell division used by animals, which involves a contracting ring of proteins, is shared by many single-celled organisms as well.