(1) The cell giving rise to daughter cells by cell division.
(2) Progenitor cell: the precursor or source of other cells.
In cell division, a mother or parent cell is the cell that divides to give rise to two daughter cells. In mitosis, the two daughter cells contain the same genetic content as the mother cell. In meiosis, the daughter cells have different genetic content and half the number of chromosomes of the mother cell.
Synonym: parent cell, brood cell, metrocyte.
See also: cell division.