Mitosis is a process of nuclear division in eukaryotic cells that occurs when a parent cell divides to produce two identical daughter cells. However, specialized cells such as red blood cells, nerve cells, and cardiac muscle cells do not undergo mitosis. The main function of mitosis is the renewal of cells and regeneration of tissues.
Key Areas Covered
Key Terms: Adult Stem Cells, Embryo, Mitosis, Replenishment, Somatic Cells, Tissue Repair
What is Mitosis
Mitosis is the nuclear division phase of the cell cycle. It is a type of vegetative cell division in eukaryotes. In mitosis, a parent cell divides into two daughter cells that are genetically identical and containing equal amounts of genetic material, organelles, as well as cytoplasm compared to their parent cell. Before entering the mitotic phase, the genetic material, as well as organelles, are replicated. The four stages of mitosis are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. At the end of mitosis, the cytoplasm of the parent cell divides into two in a process known as cytokinesis. Stages of mitosis are shown in figure 1.
The main function of mitosis in multicellular organisms to replenish the cells in tissues. Mitosis is also important in the tissue regeneration and repair in an injury.
What Type of Cells Undergo Mitosis
Three types of cells in the body undergo mitosis. They are somatic cells, adult stem cells, and the cells in the embryo.
- Somatic cells – Somatic cells are the regular cells in the body of multicellular organisms. Some examples of somatic cells are epithelial cells, muscle cells, liver cells, etc. They are arranged in tissues to perform a specific function in the body. Hence, somatic cells are specialized cells. Somatic cells undergo mitosis in order to replenish the cells in tissues. Mitosis is also involved in the tissue regeneration after injuries.
- Adult stem cells – Some very specialized somatic cells such as cardiac muscle cells, nerve cells, and red blood cells do not undergo mitosis. These types of cells are differentiated from adult stem cells, not from cell division. Hematopoietic stem cells and germline stem cells are types of adult stem cells. Adult stem cells self-renew by mitosis.
- Cells in the embryo – Zygote is the conceptus of fertilization, and it is composed of a single cell with a diploid nucleus. It undergoes three mitotic divisions to form eight-cell stage called the blastocyst. Blastocyst undergoes a large number of mitotic divisions while developing into a young.
Mitosis is the vegetative cell division in eukaryotes. It is used to replenish the cells in tissues. It is also used in tissue regeneration and repair. Therefore, somatic cells, as well as adult stem cells, undergo mitosis. The cells in the embryo undergo a large number of mitotic divisions in order to develop into a multicellular organism.
1. Bavle, Radhika M. “MITOSIS AT A GLANCE.” Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology : JOMFP, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, Sept. 2014, Available here.
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