Medical research

Slowed cell division causes microcephaly

The birth of a human being requires billions of cell divisions to go from a fertilized egg to a baby. At each of these divisions, the genetic material of the mother cell duplicates itself to be equally distributed between ...

Oncology & Cancer

3D genome structure influences cancer

For the first time, scientists have examined how the three-dimensional (3D) structure of a patient's genome can contribute to bladder cancer and pediatric brain tumors, according to a pair of Northwestern Medicine studies ...

Neuroscience

Tiniest of moments proves key for baby's healthy brain

University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have shed new light on how our brains develop, revealing that the very last step in cell division is crucial for the brain to reach its proper size and function.

Genetics

Major advance enables study of genetic mutations in any tissue

For the first time, scientists are able to study changes in the DNA of any human tissue, following the resolution of long-standing technical challenges by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. The new method, called ...

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Cell division

Cell division is a process by which a cell, called the parent cell, divides into two or more cells, called daughter cells. Cell division is usually a small segment of a larger cell cycle. This type of cell division in eukaryotes is known as mitosis, and leaves the daughter cell capable of dividing again. The corresponding sort of cell division in prokaryotes is known as binary fission. In another type of cell division present only in eukaryotes, called meiosis, a cell is permanently transformed into a gamete and cannot divide again until fertilization. For simple unicellular organisms such as the amoeba, one cell division is equivalent to reproduction-- an entire new organism is created. On a larger scale, mitotic cell division can create progeny from multicellular organisms, such as plants that grow from cuttings. Cell division also enables sexually reproducing organisms to develop from the one-celled zygote, which itself was produced by cell division from gametes. And after growth, cell division allows for continual construction and repair of the organism. A human being's body experiences about 10,000 trillion cell divisions in a lifetime.

The primary concern of cell division is the maintenance of the original cell's genome. Before division can occur, the genomic information which is stored in chromosomes must be replicated, and the duplicated genome separated cleanly between cells. A great deal of cellular infrastructure is involved in keeping genomic information consistent between "generations".

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