Difference Between Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis

Cells in living organisms usually undergo one of two highly regulated processes of division, namely mitosis and meiosis. Only eukaryotic cells exhibit the process of mitosis.

In mitosis, cells undergo both karyokinesis meaning nuclear division as well as cytokinesis, which is the division of the cytoplasm into two new daughter cells. The two new daughter cells that are the products of mitosis carry identical DNA to that of the parent cell.  

What is Karyokinesis?

The M phase of mitotic division of a cell comprises of two major steps: cytokinesis and karyokinesis. Karyokinesis, is the partition of the parent cell’s nucleus into two daughter nuclei. These two daughter nuclei are genetically identical.

This is followed by cytokinesis meaning, once the nucleus of the cell divides, and the DNA and chromosomal matter condenses into two halves, the parent cell is ready to divide its cytoplasm into two cells.

What is Cytokinesis?

The final stage in the process of mitosis, namely cytokinesis meaning “cytoplasmic division”, is the division of the parent cell’s cytoplasm in the cell cycle. It comprises the second step of the M phase and is dependent on karyokinesis. Without karyokinesis, cytokinesis cannot take place.

In this stage, the cytoplasm, the cell membrane and various other cell organelles are divided equally into two daughter cells. The process of mitosis and cytokinesis together constitute the animal cell cycle, which is also called the M phase.

The process of cytokinesis begins in the division phase called anaphase and goes on till telophase. It ensures that each daughter cell gets one nucleus.

The parent cell first goes through the process of nuclear division or karyokinesis, and it is then followed by cytoplasmic division. In this last step, the mother cell passes its cytoplasm and cellular organelles into each of its daughter cells.

Before we move ahead, it’s time to revise what you have learnt with the following exercise.

Pop Quiz 1

  1. What is cytokinesis?

  1. Nuclear division.

  2. Cell division.

  3. Cytoplasmic Division.

  4. None of the above.


The Following Table will Help illustrate the Difference Between Cytokinesis and Karyokinesis.

Cytokinesis vs Karyokinesis

Karyokinesis

Cytokinesis

The process by which the nucleus of the parent cell divides into two daughter nuclei is known as karyokinesis.

The process by which the cytoplasm of the parent cell, divides into two daughter cells is known as cytokinesis.

In karyokinesis, metaphase is the initial step of the process.

In cytokinesis, metaphase is the second step of the process.

The nucleus is divided into two genetically identical nuclei.

The cytoplasm, along with the cell membrane and organelles of the parent cell, is distributed in the two daughter cells equally. 

Karyokinesis is not dependent on cytokinesis. It can take place in the absence of cytokinesis as well.

Cytokinesis depends on karyokinesis.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Definition of Cytokinesis?

Ans. The final stage in the process of mitosis, namely cytokinesis meaning “cytoplasmic division”, is the division of the parent cell’s cytoplasm in the cell cycle. In this stage, the cytoplasm, the cell membrane and various other cell organelles are divided equally into the two daughter cells. 

2. What is the Definition of Karyokinesis?

Ans. The M phase of mitotic division of a cell comprises of two major steps: cytokinesis and karyokinesis. Karyokinesis is, as the name suggests, the partition of the parent cell’s nucleus into two daughter nuclei. These two daughter nuclei are genetically identical.

3. What is the difference Between Cytokinesis and Karyokinesis?

Ans. The differences between cytokinesis and karyokinesis is 

Cytokinesis is the process by which the cytoplasm of the parent cell divides into two daughter cells. Whereas karyokinesis is a process where the nucleus of the parent cell divides into two daughter nuclei.