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The Art in Science

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Andrew Freddo, Graduate Student (Gumucio Laboratory), Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School

The growth of tissues depends on accurate cell replication. The cell must tightly control the segregation of its chromosomes (pink) so that both "daughter" cells resulting from a division event receive the same genetic material. The cell in the center of this image is undergoing the cell division process. It has dissolved its nuclear membrane and has duplicated and condensed its chromosomes, lining most of them up at the middle of the cell. It also assembled a spindle (green) made of microtubules that will act to pull the chromosomes to opposite poles. Unfortunately, one (pink) chromosome has not been captured by the spindle (visible at the cell pole). This mistake can be fatal for the cell or it can lead to some forms of cancer.