|MadSci Network: Cell Biology|
Hello Maria, Sorry it has taken so long to get back you. My apologies for your wait. The answer to your question is yes, prokaryotic cells (for example, bacterial cells) do create new cells through cell division in a process referred to as binary fission. This form of cell division is in many ways similar to the mitosis that takes place in eukaryotic cells. However, there are significant differences between the two also. As you probably know, prokaryotic cells are actually much simpler than eukaryotic cells, so if you already understand eukaryotic cell division, you're way ahead of the game already. As you stated, prokaryotes don't have a nucleus, so the process of chromosomal replication and segregation is much simpler. Unlike eukaryotes, which have numerous chromosomes, all of the DNA for a prokaryote is contained within a single, circular chromosome. Prior to cell division, this prokaryotic chromosome is replicated to form two circular copies. Each copy attaches to the inside face of the plasma membrane at a different end of the cell. A process known as cytokinesis follows in which the two ends of the cell are physically separated and eventually form two new cells, each containing one of the chromosome copies. You can think of cytokinesis as the cell pinching in two. The fact that prokaryotes don't have organelles means that the cell doesn't have to worry about splitting them up evenly among the two daughter cells, as is required in eukaryotes. I hope this helped answer your question. If you'd like to read about prokaryotic cell divison further, I've included a reference below. I've also attached a figure illustrating what prokaryotic cell division looks like. Best, -Nathan McNulty Washington University References ---------- Molecular Cell Biology, 4th Edition. Lodish, Berk, Zipursky, Matsudaira, Baltimore, Darnell. Chapter 12: DNA Replication, Repair and Recombination.
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