Biology » Introducing the Cell » Summary of Cell Division

Summary and Main Ideas


Mitosis and the Cell Cycle

  • During interphase the DNA replicates.
  • The process of mitosis occurs in four stages: prophase, metaphase; anaphase and telophase.
  • Cytokinesis differs in plant and animal cells. In animal cells the cytoplasm invaginates and divides the cell in two, and in a plant cell the cell is divided in two by the cell plate which forms the cell wall.
  • Mitosis ensures growth of tissues and organisms.
  • Damaged and worn out tissues are repaired and replaced by new cells through mitosis.
  • Single-celled (unicellular) organisms like amoeba often reproduce asexually by mitosis.


  • Cancer is caused by DNA mutations.
  • Abnormal and uncontrolled cell division results in tumour formation.
  • Tumours affect the functioning of the tissue or organ.
  • Cancer cells can enter the bloodstream or lymph and spread to distant parts of the body and form new tumours (metastasise).
  • Cancers are caused by substances called carcinogens.
  • Carcinogens such as certain chemicals, radiation, viruses and genetics can be the cause of certain cancers.
  • Cancers can be treated by various methods including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and traditional medicines.

Optional Summary Video: The Cell Cycle and Cancer

The Amoeba Sisters video below summarizes the importance of the cell cycle and a real life example when it is not controlled: cancer.

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