Cell division images

Accurate cell division is essential for organisms to repair themselves and grow, so the process is very tightly controlled. We’ve put together a gallery to show what happens during the cell division (or M phase) of the cell cycle, which consists of mitosis and cytokinesis

Before a eukaryotic cell can divide it needs to replicate (copy) all of its DNA, so that the daughter cells produced will both contain the same genetic information. This process of nuclear division is known as mitosis. There are several different stages of mitosis: interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase, each of which can occur only when the stage preceding it is complete.

Once telophase has finished, the cell has double the normal amount of genetic information and is ready to divide. The separation of the cytoplasm and the organelles into two identical ‘daughter’ cells is called cytokinesis.

Image research and captions by Laura Pastorelli and Rob Reddick.

Further reading

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘The Cell’ in January 2011 and reviewed and updated in September 2015.

Cell biology, Microbiology
The Cell
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development