What Occurs During Metaphase?

During metaphase, the chromosomes that carry genetic information align in the equator of the cell before they split off into two daughter cells with identical genetic material. Metaphase is the third stage of mitosis, which is a phase of the cell cycle where chromosomes in the nucleus are divided between two cells.

Before metaphase takes place, the protein formations form around the centromere. These protein formations are called kinetochores. Long protein filaments extend from the poles on either end of the cell and attach to the kinetochores. These microtubules pull the sister chromatids back and forth until they are fully aligned down the center of the cell. At this point of the cycle, the cell begins to divide and moves into the fourth stage of the cycle, which is known as anaphase. The metaphase cycle takes up about 4 percent of the cycle of the cell.

During anaphase, the paired centromeres begin to move apart, and once they separate from one another, they are considered a full chromosome, or the daughter chromosomes. These chromosomes move to the poles at the opposite ends of the cell and the kinetochore fibers become shorter. The two cell poles also move further apart in preparation for telophase.