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Understand The Cell Cycle

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

The cells in your body have quite a short lifespan, in fact, except for things like bones and brain cells (or nerves), your body will kill off all of your cells about every two years. Our bodies must replace these lost cells to keep you alive and kicking. The body also needs to produce new cells, for growth and to repair wounded skin. Cells of large organisms like us can differentiate and become specialised according to their function. 

The process by which the cells divide is called cell division and there are two types: mitosis and meiosis, but we will only look at mitosis in this worksheet.

 

An image of a cell dividing.

 

The image above shows a cell just before it is to be split into two daughter cells, as they are called.

If you were going to make two copies of yourself, what would you have to do before you split into two working new people? Well, you’d need to copy all your organs, bones, brain and skin etc. Everything about you would have to double. The same must happen in a cell before it can make two new working cells.

We call this doubling up of stuff inside the cell interphase, and it is an important part of the cell cycle. The cell cycle is how a cell lives its life.  Most of the time, it's chilling in interphase (doubling all of its insides) and then one day – pow, it starts to undergo mitosis.

The diagram below shows the stages cells go through during mitosis and meiosis:

 

Image showing mitosis and meiosis

 

Stages of mitosis:

So, what actually happens in mitosis?

1) Chromosomes duplicate and the nucleus dissolves.

2) The chromosomes are arranged along the equator of the cell on the spindle - the spindle is a thread that pulls on the chromosomes.

 

An image of mitosis where the chromosomes are aligned in the center.

 

3) The spindles literally rip the chromosomes in two, pull each half of a chromosome to the side where it will make a new cell.

4) Now that the chromosomes are far apart, the nucleus reforms on each side and then the cell splits up to make two new identical cells.

 

Note: It is important to remember that the two new cells that are produced are identical. They have the same chromosomes in them so they will be doing the same job.

 

Let's have a go at some questions on this now.

What is the purpose of cell division? 

The growth of organisms

The repair of wounded areas of the body

The sending of messages to the brain and nerves

The uncontrollable division of cells

The replacement of dead cells

How are cells of multicellular organisms different from those of unicellular?

They divide better

They are identical

They differentiate

What is the name of the process that duplicates everything inside the cell?

Mitosis

Interphase

Cell addition

What are the new cells called?

Daughter cells

Sister cells

Son cells

What is special about the new cells that are made from mitosis? 

They are identical

They are different

Which of the following events happens first in mitosis? 

A new nucleus forms

Chromosomes are lined up in the middle (equator)

Chromosomes are doubled

What happens to the nucleus before cell division?

A new one is formed

It dissolves

Nothing

Along which part of the cell are chromosomes arranged at the beginning of cell division?

The middle

The equator

The centre

In which phase does a cell spend most of its time?

Interphase

Prophase

Mitosis

If an organism only made new offspring using mitosis, what would be special about these offspring? 

Genetically identical organisms

Genetic variation

Genetic similarity

  • Question 1

What is the purpose of cell division? 

CORRECT ANSWER
The growth of organisms
The repair of wounded areas of the body
The replacement of dead cells
EDDIE SAYS
There were three correct options here - did you get them all? Genetic division by the splitting of cells ensures the growth of organisms, the repair of wounded areas of the body, and the replacement of dead cells. These are all vital to you being able to stay alive.
  • Question 2

How are cells of multicellular organisms different from those of unicellular?

CORRECT ANSWER
They differentiate
EDDIE SAYS
This was a bit of a challenging question so let's go through it in more detail. Unicellular means made of one cell only, normally a prokaryotic cell. The prefix 'uni' means 'one'. Multicellular means made of lots of different types of cells. The prefix 'multi' means 'many'. Differentiation is when a generic cell becomes a specialised cell, such as a nerve cell. That's right folks, you need to remember these descriptions from earlier activities.
  • Question 3

What is the name of the process that duplicates everything inside the cell?

CORRECT ANSWER
Interphase
EDDIE SAYS
If you find some of these words difficult to remember, it can be helpful to use your knowledge of the English language, and words in particular, to try to answer the questions. Interphase is when everything is doubled - it could mean an inbetween stage before the cell actually splits to make a new one. Most of a cell's life is spent in this stage and it always needs to happen before mitosis.
  • Question 4

What are the new cells called?

CORRECT ANSWER
Daughter cells
EDDIE SAYS
New cells are called daughter cells. Why daughter you ask? Good question! I guess it's just a mystery we will never know the answer to!
  • Question 5

What is special about the new cells that are made from mitosis? 

CORRECT ANSWER
They are identical
EDDIE SAYS
Mitosis produces diploid daughter cells, identical to the mother cell. This means that a skin cell will only make more skin cells, and a liver cell will only make more liver cells, etc.
  • Question 6

Which of the following events happens first in mitosis? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Chromosomes are doubled
EDDIE SAYS
You might not have known this straight away but if you think about it carefully, it is the only option that makes sense. The chromosomes have to be doubled before anything else can happen - otherwise you would get a cell with no chromosomes in it and that cell would be killed by the body.
  • Question 7

What happens to the nucleus before cell division?

CORRECT ANSWER
It dissolves
EDDIE SAYS
The nucleus needs to dissolve so that the chromosomes can move. Chromosomes are too big to get out of the nucleus, so it needs to be destroyed in order to get new cells with new nuclei.
  • Question 8

Along which part of the cell are chromosomes arranged at the beginning of cell division?

CORRECT ANSWER
The equator
EDDIE SAYS
This is a strange one, isn't it, but at least it is a familiar word, even though we are more used to using it in the context of the Earth! At the beginning of cell division, chromosomes are arranged along the equator of the cell. Can you picture where that would be?
  • Question 9

In which phase does a cell spend most of its time?

CORRECT ANSWER
Interphase
EDDIE SAYS
Interphase is the time that the cell spends duplicating itself in preparation for mitosis. This is where it spends most of its time so that it is ready for when mitosis happens.
  • Question 10

If an organism only made new offspring using mitosis, what would be special about these offspring? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Genetically identical organisms
EDDIE SAYS
Mitosis always creates genetically identical cells. This means there is no variation created from mitosis. Some organisms do this - but they have a special method of stealing new genetic information from other organisms! Well done, another activity completed and hopefully, you are feeling more confident about the life cycle of a cell now.
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