Cell Division

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Morphology of Different Parts of Medicinal Plant

From the smaller plants like algae to the large trees like eucalyptus, all starts their growth from a single cell called as egg cell. It is brought about by the development of new cells. Two important processes are continued which ultimately helps in the vegetative growth and also in the preservation of hereditary characteristics. It includes the division of nucleus termed as mitosis and the division of cell cytoplasm, referred to as cytokinesis.


CELL DIVISION

 

From the smaller plants like algae to the large trees like eucalyptus, all starts their growth from a single cell called as egg cell. It is brought about by the development of new cells. Two important processes are continued which ultimately helps in the vegetative growth and also in the preservation of hereditary characteristics. It includes the division of nucleus termed as mitosis and the division of cell cytoplasm, referred to as cytokinesis.

Mitosis

 

Mitosis is a somatic cell division which is responsible for the development of vegetative body of the plants. A German Botanist Stransburger (1875) first studied it in detail. The process of mitotic cell division consists of four important stages, viz. prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase.

 

Prophase

 

This phase of chromosome fixation is the longest one in the mitotic cell division. Firstly, the indistinct chromosomes appear as the recognizable thread. Chromosomes are closely occurring double threads of which each longitudinal half becomes chromatid. Gradually chromosomes are thick-ened. Chromatid starts dividing longitudinally into two halves along with chromosomal substance matrix around it. Some gap start appearing in the chromosomes which is called as centromeres. At the end of prophase, nucleoli become smaller, matrix becomes clearer and the nucleus enters into metaphase.

 

Metaphase

 

During this phase nuclear membrane vanishes and the spindle formation takes place; Bipolar spindle is made up of delicate fibres. Later the nuclear membrane is removed; spindle appears into the nuclear region. Movement of chromosomes to the equatorial plane of spindle separates them from one another. Centromeres are along the equators while the arms of the chromosomes are directed towards the cytoplasm where they are most clearly revealed.

 

Protometaphase

 

Nucelear envelope fragments. Microtubes of spindle invade nuclear area and are able to interact with chromosomes. Chromosomes are more condensed. The two chromatids have kinetochore-protein structure. Microtubes attach to kinetochore and move the chromosomes back and forth. The kinetochore that do not attach interact with others from the opposite pole.

 


 

Anaphase

 

In anaphase, chromatid halves move away equatorially at two opposite poles with the tractile fibres. The chromatid separates completely from each other. The spindle under-goes maximum elongation to facilitate separation of diploid chromatids. It is a shortest phase of mitosis.

Telophase

 

In telophase, chromatids forms the close groups. The polar caps of the spindle disappear and the formation of nuclear membrane takes place around the groups of chromosomes. The matrix and spindle body disappears completely. Appear-ance of nucleoli and nuclear sap makes them recognizable as two distinct nuclei.

 

Once again nucleus formed grows in size and starts working as metabolic nuclei to enter again in the cycle of mitotic cell division. It mainly depends upon types of plants, plant part and temperature.

 

Cytokinesis

 

Cytokinesis is the partition of cytoplasmic material. It takes place either by formation of new cell walls or by cytoplasmic breakdown. New cells are formed by deposition of cellulosic material in the equatorial zones, which forms the membrane and divide cytoplasm into newly formed cells.

 

Meiosis

 

Meiosis is a process of nuclear division in which the numbers of chromosomes are reduced to half (n) from the basic nucleus of 2n chromosomes. A German botanist Stransburger (1888) was the first researcher of this complex genetic process. Chromosomes are called as the carriers of hereditary characters, so the meiosis is the process of transmission of these genetic characteristics. All sexually reproducing plants and animals are gametes with haploid number of chromosomes. Fusion of the male and female gametes results into zygote whereby doubling of chromosomes to 2n takes place to develop offspring.

 

Meiosis involves two successive divisions: the first process of division I is reduction division, while the second process of division II is similar to that of mitosis.

 

Division I

 

In this process of meiosis mother nucleus undergoes complicated changes which can be subdivided into various phases as given below.


 


 


Prophase I: In this phase chromosomes are systematically arranged. This phase is again divided into five different stages:

 

Leptotene: This is an early prophase in which diploid chromosomes are found as long, single threads of iden-tical pairs. Coiling of these threads of chromosomes occurs.

 

Zygotene: Identical chromosomes gets attracted towards each other and the pairs are developed throughout their length. This pairing is termed as synapsis. The Chro-mosomes thus paired are homologous in nature.

 

Pachytene: The pairs of chromosomes go shorter and thicker due to coiling. Longitudinal splitting in it gives rise to four chromatids from each chromosome. This is a longer phase of prophase I.

 

Diplotene: This is a stage where separation of chromatids takes place. Their point of attachment remains at a single point known as chiasmata. At this stage the exchange of the genetic material occurs due to crossing over, a prominent feature of meiosis. With further thickening and shortening of chromosomes, diplotene ends into Diakinesis.

 

Diakinesis: In this last stage of prophase I, two halves of the chromosome starts moving equatorially. Chiasmata remain as a point of attachment. Nucleolus disappears and nuclear membrane gets dissolved to release the chromosomes in cytoplasm. Nuclear spindle formation begins at the end of diakinesis.

 

Metaphase I: In this phase both the chromatids starts moving to two opposite poles of the spindle. In mitotic metaphase chromosomes are lined up at the opposite poles while in meiosis chiasmata remains attached to spindle fibres at the opposite poles.

 

Anaphase I: The Chiasmata of the homologous chro-matids repels each other to opposite poles. Chromosomes are carried away by the tractile fibres to the equators. This is an important stage at which reduction of chromosome number from diploid to haploid occurs.

 

Telophase I: At both the equatorial poles, pairs of chroma-tids start developing as the two haploid daughter nuclei. The nucleolus starts reappearing and the formation of nuclear membrane takes place. Two daughter nuclei thus formed enters in the second process of Division II.

 

Division II

 

All the phases of division II are similar to that of mitotic cell division. Telophase I passes into prophase II. Prophase II: Both the chromatid groups which have the loose ends go on coiling and become shorter and thicker. Nucleolus and nuclear membrane vanishes and spindle fibres show its appearance.

 

Metaphase II: In Metaphase II, chromatids once again starts separating equatorially at two opposite poles. Pairs of chromatids separate completely with its own centromere and ends in Anaphase II.

 

Anaphase II: At the stage of Anaphase II, two sister chro-matids of each pair of chromosome move to opposite poles of the spindle as directed by the centromeres.

 

Telophase II: In Telophase II, both the polar groups of chromosomes are converted to the nuclei by formation of nuclear membrane.

 

Lastly via cytokinesis four daughter cells are formed each having the haploid or ā€˜nā€™ number of chromosomes.

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