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Onion Root Mitosis
Allium root tip
by Joseph C. Rossi
It is common to see photomicrographs of
onion root cells when demonstrating how cell division takes place in
plants. Onions have larger chromosomes than most plants and stain dark.
The chromosomes are easily observed through a compound light microscope.
The cells pictured below are located in the
apical meristem of the onion root. The apical
meristem is an area of a plant where cell division takes place at a
Phases of plant cells division:
1) Interphase is considered the first
and last stage of plant cell division. It is the stage in which the
cell is growing in size and replicating its DNA in preparation for
division. The nucleus is apparent.
2) Prophase. During Prophase the
nuclear envelope starts to break down and all the chromosomes start to
coil up in the center of the cell.
3) Metaphase is the middle stage at
which point all the chromosome pairs line up in the center of the cell
along spindle fibers that pull to either side of the cell.
4) Anaphase. The spindle fibers
become shorter and pull each chromosome pair apart to the opposite ends
of the cell.
5) Telophase. The final stage of cell
replication.The nuclear envelope is reformed. Cytokinesis
takes place. A new cell wall is created down the center and two
daughter cells are formed.
All photomicrographs captured at approximately 160X
with a Nikon D1X
Equipment used to photograph the onion root:
Nikon Optiphot microscope
Nikon Plan Apochromatic 40X objective
Nikon Apochromatic sub stage condenser
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I am a Student at Rochester Instutuite of Technology studing
in the Biomedical Photographic Communications Department.
email : Jcr0920@rit.edu