FRANCIS LEROY & VALERIE ROUVROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCIS LEROY & VALERIE ROUVROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Metaphase stage of cell division. Animation showing a mechanism controlling the movement of the genetic material during the metaphase stage of cell division (mitosis). The genetic material forms into units called chromatids (green, centre). Paired chromatids are known as chromosomes. The chromatids align at a location known as the metaphase plate, with cellular protein structures (microtubules, coloured beads) forming the mitotic spindle (horizontal) connecting the poles of what will be the two new cells (red and blue, left and right). The microtubules undergo polymerization and depolymerization (small units attaching and detaching) which constantly displaces the chromatids towards one pole or the other. These opposing forces are balanced when the chromatid pairs (chromosomes) are at the equator of the spindle, so they remain stationary there during this phase of cell division.
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