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What is mitosis?

Mitosis is the process in which the genetic material in the nucleus of a cell is divided. It occurs only in eukaryotic organisms.

This image shows a cell just after mitosis.
This image shows a cell just after mitosis.

In order for an organism to grow, its cells need to divide. Mitosis leads to the formation of two identical daughter cells.

Important! Mitosis describes the formation of two nuclei from one parent nucleus, not the replication of DNA. DNA replication happens before mitosis.

The replication of genetic material is very accurate. Errors in replicating the genetic code can lead to the cell not functioning properly.

Mitosis is used by multicellular organisms for:

  • Growth: As children grow, their cells divide by mitosis.
  • Repair: Skin cells are constantly dividing to replace old or damaged skin.
  • Asexual reproduction: Single-celled eukaryotes like yeast replicate by mitosis.