Gyorgyi Csankovszki, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
All our genetic information is contained in DNA, which is carried in chromosomes. We all start life as a single egg cell that is fertilized by a sperm, but our bodies have many cells. To make new cells, chromosomes must be copied and then separated into two, in a process called mitosis. The basic process of cell division is the same in humans, fish, flies, and worms. This image depicts chromosomes as they are being pulled apart during mitosis in a dividing cell of a tiny worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, a commonly used model organism in biological research. The chromosomes are blue, and the apparatus that pulls them apart, called the spindle, is red. The image is highly magnified; the actual size of these dividing cells is about 1/20 of a millimeter.