Scientists Say: Mitosis

This is when a cell divides into two identical cells


One cell becomes two identical cells in the process called mitosis.  

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Mitosis (noun, “My-TOE-sis”)

This is a type of cell division where one cell splits into two identical cells. Mitosis is how our bodies grow and develop — our bodies grow larger by adding more cells. A cell prepares for mitosis by making an identical copy of its DNA — the instructions that the cell uses to perform all its tasks. Mitosis then takes place through a series of steps. These steps help guide the DNA to opposite ends of the cell. As the two copies of DNA move apart, the cell lengthens. Then, it pinches in the middle and divides into two. In the end, one DNA copy ends up in each new cell.

Like all animals, kittens grow into adult cats as their bodies make more and more cells through mitosis.
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Mitosis is happening all around you. It’s probably happening inside you right now. Mitosis produces new cells in our bodies during growth. Cells in the gut also undergo mitosis, as stomach cells and intestine cells get replaced. Bones undergo mitosis to knit back together after they’ve been broken. When starfish regrow a lost arm, they do it through mitosis, building a new limb cell by cell. And some organisms — such as bacteria and hydras — reproduce by mitosis. 

In a sentence

Student scientists sent cells to space, to compare mitosis in space with mitosis on Earth.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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