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Importance of Mitotic Cell Division

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  • 0:00 What Is Miotic Cell Devision?
  • 0:59 Reproduction
  • 2:46 Repair
  • 4:02 Growth
  • 4:40 Problems With Mitosis
  • 5:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

This lesson is on the importance of mitotic cell division. In this lesson, we'll go over what mitotic cell division is and what cells use this process. We'll also cover the main functions of cell division.

What Is Mitotic Cell Division?

Think about the world teeming with life right outside your window. Huge trees, grass, and maybe some wildlife fill your view. All these things, including you, arose from one single cell. That thirty-foot tall acorn tree grew over dozens of years from a single seed. How does this happen? The answer is mitotic cell division.

Mitotic cell division, also known as mitosis, is the process of one cell with a nucleus splitting into two cells with a nucleus, like the cells in plants, animals, and fungi. Mitosis occurs in any cell with a nucleus, including large, multicellular organisms, like humans, and tiny single-celled organisms, like the yeast needed to make bread and beer. Clearly, this process is imperative for life to survive. Let's look at three main ways mitosis supports life: reproduction, repair, and growth of living things.

Reproduction

Although we combine sperm and eggs to produce, single-celled organisms and some multicellular organisms use mitosis as a form of reproduction. Single-celled organisms, like amoebas or paramecium in a pond, need to split in two to make more of their kind. However, larger organisms, like worms, starfish, and sea anemones, can also use mitosis to reproduce. Worms, like the planaria, can split themselves into parts in a process called fragmentation. When cut in half, a planaria undergoes mitosis and forms an entirely new worm. In fact, planaria can be cut into dozens of pieces to form new worms from each piece.

Hydras, or sea anemones, are underwater animals that attach to rocks and the sea floor. They can reproduce sexually, or in a process called budding. Through mitosis, new polyps form on the side of the original. Their cells keep dividing until the polyp is big enough, and then they split off from the parent hydra, forming their own organism.

Although few animals reproduce using mitosis, the process is common in plants. You can try this at home through rooting a plant in a cup of water. Cut off a leaf or stem of a plant near a node, or branch point of the main plant. Next, place your cutting in a cup of water. Chemicals and nutrients can be added to aid in the rooting process, but it can take place in just a plain cup of water. Watch over the next week as roots sprout from the plant as a product of mitosis. The plant cells divide and develop into roots. The plant can then be transferred to soil. Viola! A copy of your original plant has been formed via mitosis.

Repair

Although only some animals use mitosis for reproduction, all animals use mitosis to repair damaged tissue. Picture getting a scrape or a cut. Within a few days, a scab forms over the wound and in a few more days new skin starts to form. These skin cells come from mitosis. The existing cells around the wound divide and migrate into the site of the wound, creating a new layer of skin.

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