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Mitosis and Meiosis Lab report

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  • Identify interphase and the stages of mitosis in plant and animal cells
  • Differentiate between mitosis and meiosis


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The ability to reproduce is one of the special characteristics that define life.  For more than 3 billion years, living things have been reproducing themselves, generation after generation.  Throughout history, people have wondered how biological information is transmitted by the parent to its young.  Why do cats have kittens, dogs have puppies, and hens have chicks?  Why do you resemble your father and mother?  We now know that DNA carries the inherited information, but how is the complete genome transmitted from parents to offspring?  In every case, this process happens at the cellular level.  Reproduction occurs through cell division.

Cell division is also a key process in the growth and maintenance of multicellular organisms.  As you read this lab, your body is changing at a dazzling rate.  Certain cells are being created, others are dying, and still others are being changed.  Your body is literally different now than it was when you started this paragraph.  Cells divide, passing along virtually identical information to the two daughter cells.  Some cells divide at an incredibly rapid pace (such as those on your palms), while others (such as most nerve cells) do not divide at all.  Cell division allows for growth, development, and the replacement of old or damaged cells.

Mitosis is nuclear division.  In mitosis, genetic material is very precisely divided to ensure that each daughter cell has DNA that is identical to that of the parent cell from which it arose.  Mitosis occurs in body cells, or somatic cells, of multicellular organisms.  Mitosis (division of the nucleus) is followed by cytoplasmic division, which fully separates the cytoplasm and organelles of the two daughter cells.

Meiosis is a highly specialized nuclear division process that reduces the chromosome number by half.  Meiosis occurs in reproductive structures to produce cells called gametes (egg and sperm cells).  Egg and sperm unite in a process called fertilization, resulting in a newly formed cell (zygote) that contains a full complement of DNA.  Each zygote contains a unique combination of genetic information, half from the mother and half from the father.  The zygote grows and develops by mitosis, completing a sexual life cycle.

Today’s lab will give you the opportunity to see for yourself how cells reproduce and how DNA is stored and passed from a cell to its offspring.  You will undoubtedly find yourself confusing mitosis and meiosis.  The two processes have much in common, but they also have crucial differences.  As you review them in the lab today, make sure you note these differences and understand their importance.


Pre-Lab Questions

  1. Which form of cell division enables growth and healing?
  1. Cells do not all divide at the same pace. Give an example of a body part where…
    1. cells divide slowly, if at all: __________________________________
    2. cells divide rapidly: _____________________________________
  1. Which form of cell division enables reproduction by producing sperm and egg cells?
  1. Mitosis produces daughter cells that are ________________________ to the parent cell.
  1. Describe what results after meiosis and fertilization.



  1. Plant Mitosis

We will be revisiting microscope slides in this lab.  Please click on the links to see the different stages of plant and animal mitosis.

  1. Click on the following link to see the stages of plant mitosis in Allium cepa (onion) root tips: http://images.slideplayer.com/13/4175474/slides/slide_6.jpg
  2. Find a cell in each stage and draw it in the appropriate circle. Follow quality guidelines as usual.  In particular, do not draw lines where they don’t exist.  Avoid the temptation to draw a circle for the nucleus unless the nucleus is clearly defined!  Exception to normal standards: focus each sketch on a single cell in the labeled stage, enlarging it relative to the field of view.  Sketch in pencil and upload your drawings as a separate attachment when you submit this lab (scan in or take a picture of drawings).

Interphase                                           Prophase                                  Metaphase

Label: nuclear membrane                    Label: chromosomes               Label: chromosomes

Anaphase                                            Telophase

Label: chromatids                               Label: cell plate


QUESTIONS about plant mitosis.  Look very carefully at your examples and research the phases of mitosis in your textbook before answering.


(1) Is the nuclear membrane intact or breaking down during interphase?  What about in prophase?

(2) Chromatin is the DNA and associated proteins that are found in the nucleus.  Is the chromatin uncondensed and stringy or condensed during interphase? What about prophase?

(3) From the cells seen on the slide, where are the chromosomes in a cell in metaphase?

(4) From the cells seen on the slide, what is happening to the sister chromatids in a cell in anaphase?

(5) As telophase finishes dividing the nucleus contents equally, new nuclei form.  Now that the nucleus is divided; what must happen to finish the process of cell division (give the name and describe the process)? How is this achieved in plant cells?

  1. Timing the stages of the cell division: The approximate duration of the entire cell cycle in the onion root tip is about 24 hours. Use the slide of onion root cells below. Looking at the cells marked with an X, count the number of cells in each phase.
Stages of cell cycle Interphase Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase
Total number of cells counted for each stage
Percent of cells in each stage (Assuming the total number of cells counted 200)
Time in minutes for each stage

The average time for onion root tip cells to complete the cell cycle is 24 hours = 1440 minutes. To calculate the time for each stage:

% of cells in the stage × 1440 minutes = number of minutes in the stage

  1. Animal mitosis
  1. Click on the link to observe the process of mitosis in a living cell. Click on the “Play” button to play the simulation. http://www.phschool.com/science/biology_place/labbench/lab3/mitfilm.html
  2. Click on the following link to see the stages of Animal mitosis in whitefish blastodiscs (fish embryos): (Interphase looks like any generic cell) http://www.phschool.com/science/biology_place/labbench/lab3/field.html
  3. Using the above figure find a cell in each of the stages below and draw them in the appropriate circles. Sketch in pencil and upload your drawings as a separate attachment when you submit this lab.

Interphase                                      Prophase                                         Metaphase

Anaphase                                          Telophase


Question: In Telophase, indicate the cleavage furrow.



Question: Most cells appear to be in what phase?

C. Comparing Mitosis and Meiosis

Mitosis and meiosis have similar names and are both forms of cell division.  However, they occur in different types of cells and have different functions.  Answer the questions below to improve your understanding of these two processes.  In each case assume that nuclear division (mitosis or meiosis) is followed by cytoplasmic division to fully separate the daughter cells.  Also, do not assume that answers will always be different for the two processes: they are similar in some ways, but are very different in others.

(1) Provide one reason why mitosis occurs in you.

(2) Provide one reason why meiosis occurs in you.

(3) Does the parent cell at the beginning of mitosis have a diploid or haploid number of chromosomes?

(4) Do daughter cells formed from mitosis have a diploid or haploid number of chromosomes?

(5) Are daughter cells formed through mitosis genetically identical to or genetically different from the parent cell?

(6) Does the parent cell at the beginning of meiosis have a diploid or haploid number of chromosomes?

(7) Do daughter cells formed from meiosis (complete process, meiosis I and meiosis II) have a diploid or haploid number of chromosomes?

(8) Are daughter cells formed through meiosis genetically identical to or genetically different from the parent cell?

(9) Where does mitosis occur in your body?

(10) Where does meiosis occur (where is it completed) in a female body?  In a male body?

(11) The events of anaphase of mitosis are most similar to events occurring in which phase of meiosis?  Include both the division (I or II) and the specific phase.

(12) If a single cell divides by mitosis, how many daughter cells are produced?

(13) If a single cell completes the full process of meiosis, how many daughter cells are produced?

(14) If a parent cell with a diploid number of 12 (12 total chromosomes in six pairs) were to divide by mitosis, the two daughter cells would each have __________ chromosomes.

(15) If a parent cell with a diploid number of 12 were to divide by meiosis, each daughter cell would have __________ chromosomes.

(16) Crossing over occurs in (circle one: mitosis only / meiosis only / both mitosis and meiosis)

(17) When (specifically) does crossing over occur and why is it important?

(18) Do cancer cells divide by mitosis or meiosis?

(19) Fertilization (union of egg and sperm) creates the first cell of a new individual, called a zygote.  Would this zygote divide by mitosis or meiosis to become two cells?

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