Mitosis The term mitosis is derived from the Latin stem mito, meaning “threads.” When mitosis was first described a century ago, scientists had seen “threads” within cells, so they gave the name mitosis to the process of “thread movement.” During mitosis, the nuclear material becomes visible as threadlike chromosomes. The chromosomes organize in the center of the cell, and then they separate, and 46 chromosomes move into each new cell that forms. Mitosis is a continuous process, but for convenience in denoting which portion of the process is taking place, scientists divide mitosis into a series of phases: prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, and cytokinesis (see Figure 1 ): • Prophase: Mitosis begins with the condensation of the chromosomes to form visible threads in the phase called prophase. Two copies of each chromosome
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