What Is the Function of Mitosis and Cytoplasmic Division?

Mitosis and cytoplasmic division enable a cell to divide into two identical new cells that are copies of the original. This process is important to organisms for growth and wound repair.

All organisms depend on mitosis for growth and cell replacement. Mitosis and cytoplasmic division, or cytokinesis, provide organisms the ability to develop and grow as well as providing for the replacement of old cells and the creation of new cells to repair damage. Some organisms use mitosis to regenerate lost or damaged body parts. For example, after a lizard loses its tail in self defense, mitosis allows it to regenerate a new tail. Mitosis also allows for reproduction in organism that reproduce asexually.

Mitosis involves four stages and ends with cytokinesis. During the first stage, prophase, DNA condenses into distinct chromosomes, the nuclear membrane dissolves and special spindle fibers form at the cellular poles. The chromosomes line up along the center of the cell during the second phase, metaphase. In anaphase, the spindle fibers pull the chromosomes to opposite poles. During the final stage, telophase, chromosomes decondense and new nuclear envelopes form around them. Cytokinesis then divides the body of the cell, creating two identical daughter cells. When mitosis is not occurring, the cell is in interphase. Interphase is a time of replication within the cell; DNA and organelles replicate to provide suitable material for the next round of mitosis.