What would life become if there was no Mitoses and division of cells?

Mitosis is one of the most fundamental processes of cells. I came across these GIFs of a timelapse of epithelial cells undergoing mitosis:

The original videos can be accessed here.

For those who have long forgotten what mitosis is, here is a quick refreshment of your high school biology classes.

Mitosis is the replication of the cell, involving production a copy of the mother nucleus and division of the cell.

There are four phases to mitosis:

Prophase: Chromatin, the red blob, condenses into chromosomes and replicates, preparing for the next four stages of mitosis.

Metaphase: Fibres(coloured in light green) are attached to chromosomes, allowing them to move about the cell. Chromosomes line up in the middle of the cell.

Anaphase: Chromosomes separated and pulled apart to the opposite sides of the cell.

Telophase: Cell divides to form two daughter cells. Chromosomes changes back to Chromatin.

The above GIFs shows the replication of animal cells. The mitosis of plants are very similar to that of animal cells. What differs from the two is that the cell divides by pinching and separating the cytoplasm in animal cells, where as plant cells divide by the formation of a cell wall in-between cells.

This photo shows some dividing plant cells.

We can clearly see the presence regularly shaped plant cells with cell walls. We can see that the different process of mitosis can be easily distinguished from each other.

This photo is a snapshot of a particular moment in time, where numerous plants cells are undergoing different stages of mitosis.

In the GIFs, some phases are more obvious than the others. Especially Anaphase, where chromosomes are dragged to the two ends. We can also see that mitosis can happen simultaneously among cells, and the process is much quicker than one would expect. It also amazes me how short of a time the condensation of chromatin to chromosomes takes up. To think that it only takes a split of a second to go from chromatin, a large ball of coiled DNA, so something as compact as chromosomes is truly fascinating.

 

Why is mitosis so important to living cells?

Cells are the building blocks of all living organism, and they exist by the process of mitosis of other cells. Mitosis also involves the replication of DNA, this allows DNA to be passed on. DNA contains genetic information of everything that is happening in one’s body: from the coding of an amino acid to the colour of one’s eyes. If there is no mitosis, there would be no cell growth and cell reproduction. Most importantly, genetic information cannot be passed on. All cell functions would be hugely affected.

 

References:

Observing Mitosis of Epithelial cells by Microscopy U

http://www.microscopyu.com/moviegallery/c1si/mitosiseb3/index.html

Mitosis of Plant Cells by Histology: Web textbook and Atlas of Microscopic Images

http://histol.narod.ru/images/cytol/mitosis-01-l.jpg

Photography of Plant Cells at Telophase and Metaphase by Biology Web

http://faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu/faculty/michael.gregory/files/Bio%20101/Bio%20101%20Laboratory/Mitosis/Photographs/allium_mitosis_metaphase_telophase_X_400.jpg

Cell cycle by Collin County Community College District

http://iws.collin.edu/mweis/A&P%20Basics/Lab/Basics%20Lab%20Exercises/lab_exercise_04_cells.htm