Slideshow: Mitosis Masterpieces

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The intricate process of mitosis—a cell splitting into two identical daughter cells—plays a pivotal role in sustaining life. Many scientists study this process to understand what’s needed for it to progress normally and why it sometimes goes awry, such as in cancer. During their research, the scientists often create eye-catching images and videos, and we showcase some of those visuals here.

Check out our post Make Like a Cell and Split: Comparing Mitosis and Meiosis for more info on mitosis, and visit our image and video gallery for more examples of mitosis, as well as other scientific photos, illustrations, and videos. 

Mitosis Masterpieces
Oblong blue blobs grouped together with red threads above and below them. Several green spots are spread throughout.
Credit: Robert Lera and Mark Burkard, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Oblong yeast cells, each with two glowing dots inside. One dot moves toward each end of the cell. Bands form in the middle of the cells and constrict until the cells divide.
Credit: Alaina Willet, Kathy Gould’s lab, Vanderbilt University.
Green fibers, originating from four bright-green spots, pull apart short, pink threads.
Credit: Tamara Potapova and Gary Gorbsky, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
A round cell on the bottom left breaks apart into small pieces while another cell on the top right splits into two cells.
Credit: Dylan T. Burnette, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Yeast cells undergo mitosis to multiply. Nuclear envelopes are shown in green, and spindle pole bodies, which help pull apart chromosomes, are shown in magenta.

Microtubules (red) direct chromosomes (blue) to align during mitosis. The scientists who took this image were investigating how the protein Plk1 (green) regulates chromosome alignment in human cells.

Spindle pole bodies (glowing dots) move toward the ends of yeast cells to separate chromosomes during mitosis. Contractile rings (glowing bands) form in cells’ middles and constrict to help them split.

This snapshot shows abnormal mitosis in African clawed frog cells. The chromosomes (pink) are being pulled in four directions instead of the usual two by the green fibers.

This time-lapse video shows two cells over 2 hours. The one on the top right goes through mitosis. The one on the bottom left goes through programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis.

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