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Difference Between Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis

Last updated date: 20th Apr 2024
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Eukaryotic cells multiply as a result of the cell cycle's sequential passage through the four different phases G₁, G₂, S, and M. DNA replication takes place in the S phase, followed by chromosomal separation (karyokinesis) in the M phase and cell division (cytokinesis) in the G₁ and G₂ growth phases. The G₁ phase can be further divided into early G₁, also known as post-mitotic G₁, mid-G₁, during which the majority of cell growth occurs, and late G₁, during which the last DNA replication preparations take place. It is believed that the G₂ phase is required for chromosomal replication control and mitotic spindle assembly processes.

Cells that are not engaged in division may undergo terminal differentiation, senescence, or apoptosis to permanently exit these cycling phases, or they may be momentarily arrested in a quiescent state known as G₀ if they contain G₁ DNA, though quiescence can also occasionally occur in the G₂ phase (G₂ arrest).

Explain Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis

Karyokinesis: In the initial stage of cell division, known as karyokinesis, genetic material is evenly distributed between two nuclei. Mitosis, as a collective term, refers to a number of sequential chromosomal separation episodes. In vegetative cells during nonsexual reproduction, mitosis, one of the two types of nuclear separation, occurs to increase the population of cells.

The other type of nuclear separation, known as meiosis, is found in the creation of gametes by germ cells during sexual reproduction. The stages of karyokinesis, also known as mitosis, are prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase, which result in the separation of the cell nucleus.

Karyokinesis Stages

  • Prophase: When the number of chromosomes, which were replicated in the S phase, is reduced, mitosis begins and it is easier to see them under a microscope as distinct forms. Exactly at that moment, a component known as the centriole is imitated, and the two daughter centrioles move to the cell's reverse poles or ends, where they begin to construct the mitotic pole, often from microtubule proteins.

  • Prometaphase: During this phase, chromosomal crowds, which are made up of matched sister chromatids united at a structure called the centromere, start to make their way toward the cell's center. Centrioles, which act as a network of tiny cables or wires, continue to gather the mitotic pole in the meantime.

  • Metaphase: Human chromosomes, which total 46, are sequentially arranged on the metaphase plate, a plane that runs through the center of the cell and straight to the pole, at this stage. One sister chromatid from each group is located on one side of the plate, while its identical chromatid is located on the other, as indicated by the centromere-crossing line.

  • Anaphase: During this phase, the spindle strands significantly pull the chromatids away from one another and towards the opposing poles of the cell. At this stage, a cleavage furrow signals the beginning of cytokinesis. The entire set of 46 chromatids sits down in a cluster at each end of the anaphase.

  • Telophase: The cell moves around providing each set of chromosomes its nuclear coating at this time after the genetic solid has been replicated and divided. Genetic material also starts to loosen up. Telophase is an alternative prophase pathway in the core. Telophase marks the advancement of premature cytokinesis.

Significance of Karyokinesis

Karyokinesis is a process that has important implications for living things since it ensures that every cell in a creature aside from sex cells can regenerate. This confirms the appropriate functioning of both cells and tissues, which can mature, create, and redevelop within a finite time.

Thus, karyokinesis allows for the growth and multicellular organism, the advancement of the body, and the regeneration of tissues that must experience cell injury. Because of this challenging process, cells can survive for a long period and pass on their characteristics to subsequent generations. Daily replacement of the dead cells occurs automatically.

Cytokinesis: The final stage of eukaryotic cell division, known as cytokinesis, separates the cytoplasm, organelles, and cellular membrane into two daughter cells. Cytokinesis often occurs at the end of mitosis, immediately after telophase, but the two stages are independent processes.

For most animals, cytokinesis begins at the conclusion of anaphase or during early telophase to ensure that the chromosomes have completely separated. The same spindle machinery that was in charge of dividing the chromosomes is what drives the cytokinesis processes that are visible in the cell. The two newly created cells' chromosomes will be rearranged using the components of the spindle that are responsible for the chromosomes' collapse at the conclusion of cell division.

Cytokinesis Stages

  • Stage 1: The focus of this initial stage is on forming the cleavage furrow, or the area where the actin filaments will begin to tighten their noose around the cell. The spindle, a comparable structure that ensures the chromosomes are consistently split between the two nuclei, is the component responsible for marking this region. The plasma membrane and nuclei are related to the function of the spindle, which is a sort of internal organisation in the cell. Astral microtubules, another set of tiny structures on the spindle, interface with the cell membrane and direct the actin fiber arrangement to the cleavage furrow that will follow.

  • Stage 2: This is the time for the actin filaments to group together after the location of the cleavage furrow has been determined. There are also many different proteins that are stretched to the same region, including the myosin, allowing the actin fibers to be pulled as the contractile ring begins to form.

  • Stage 3: A mechanical protein known as a molecular motor is the protein myosin. While the protein is essential for the body's muscles to contract, in the context of a single cell, it can squeeze the contractile ring, causing the cell to thin in the middle as two daughter cells develop. This is done with the help of ATP.

  • Stage 4: After the cell membrane has shrunk to its smallest point, it is finally broken definitively. The sheath quickly shreds at the site where it has broken, dividing into two identical daughter cells that can each function independently.

Significance of Cytokinesis

Two separate nuclei are contained within a single cell as a result of mitosis and each of the two meiotic divisions. When a cell divides into several daughter cells, a process known as cytokinesis confirms that each daughter cell has one nucleus on top. The nuclear division stage known as anaphase is when cytokinesis begins, and it lasts until telophase. The center of the cell, immediately beneath the plasma membrane, is surrounded by a ring of protein fibers known as the contractile ring.

A cleavage furrow is created when the plasma membrane is stretched inward by the contractile ring in the center of the cell. In the end, the contractile ring shrinks to the perception of two distinct cells, each with a plasma membrane.

Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis Difference







Karyokinesis is the term used to describe the cell division process that takes place during mitosis.

At the conclusion of meiosis, a process known as cytokinesis involves the division of cells.



Karyokinesis is the first stage of cell division. 

As the cytoplasm is divided during cytokinesis, it is the second stage.



Karyokinesis is important to occur since it results in the regeneration and renewal of cells following division.

The process of cytokinesis must take place as the nucleus of each daughter cell drives cell division.



The genetic material is equally divided.

Cellular substances and cytoplasm are distributed equally.



Karyokinesis involves chromosomal movement and spindle formation.

In cytokinesis, cell plate development and embryonic cleavage take place.



The division of genetic material occurs during the rather complicated and sequential process of karyokinesis.

Cell division is easily accomplished through cytokinesis.



There is no such kind of karyokinesis.

Asymmetrical and symmetrical cytokinesis are the two types of cytokinesis.


Two phases of the cell cycle involve the division of cells: cytokinesis and karyokinesis. The identical separation of the simulated genetic material between two daughter nuclei is known as karyokinesis. During karyokinesis, a series of events take place that are collectively referred to as mitosis. Cytokinesis, or the division of the cytoplasm, typically follows karyokinesis during the division of mitotic cells. Cytoplasm and organelles are similarly split apart during cytokinesis.

FAQs on Difference Between Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis

1. What is Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis?

The division of the nucleus during the M phase of the cell cycle is known as karyokinesis. It is the initial stage of the M phase. Cytokinesis is not necessary for this process. The genetic material is equally divided. Contrarily, cytokinesis is defined as the division of the cytoplasm while the cell cycle is in the M phase. The M phase's second stage is this one. Without karyokinesis, this process cannot take place.

2. What are the characteristics of Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis?

A pucker, or cleavage furrow, suddenly appears on the cell surface as the first visible sign of cytokinesis in an animal cell. The furrow rapidly widens and extends all the way around the cell, dividing it in half. Karyokinesis is a process that has major implications for living things since it ensures that every cell in a creature, with the exception of sex cells, has the ability to renew itself. This approach also confirms the appropriate functioning of cells and tissues that may mature, create, and redevelop within a finite time frame.

3. What is the difference between Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis?

The most significant difference between Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis is the region involved in the division process. Cytokinesis involves the division of the cytoplasm whereas karyokinesis involves the division of the nucleus. Due to karyokinesis, the nucleus splits into two parts so that when two cells are formed after cytokinesis, each cell can receive one nucleus and continue the process of cell division, replication, repair, and growth. Both these processes however contribute to the division of the cell and enable eukaryotic organisms to continue their reproductive cycle.