Dictionary > Metaphase


The phase following prophase and preceding anaphase of cell divisions (i.e. mitosis and meiosis), and highlighted by the alignment of condensed chromosomes along the metaphase plate
Cell divisions in eukaryotes, particularly mitosis and meiosis, are important since they give rise to new cells. Mitosis produces two cells that are genetically identical. Meiosis produces four cells that are genetically dissimilar and in which the chromosomes are reduced by half. Both mitosis and meiosis are comprised of chronological phases: (1) prophase, (2) metaphase, (3) anaphase, and (4) telophase. Since meiosis is comprised of first and second meiotic divisions, these phases occur twice, each designated as I and II.
Metaphase is that phase that follows after prophase, when the chromatin condenses and become more visible (i.e. via the process of chromatin condensation). At metaphase, the condensed chromosomes align along the metaphase plate (equator) and the microtubules formed during prophase will attach to the kinetochores.
In meiosis, metaphase occurs twice, i.e. metaphase I at first meiotic division and metaphase II at second meiotic division.
Word origin: Greek meta (in the middle) + phase, phásis (“appearance”)”
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Related term(s):

  • metaphase I
  • metaphase II
  • metaphase plate
  • prometaphase

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