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A Brief History of Research on Mitotic Mechanisms

Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, Medical School and College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55455, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chris O’Callaghan
Biology 2016, 5(4), 55;
Received: 1 October 2016 / Revised: 24 November 2016 / Accepted: 25 November 2016 / Published: 21 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Mitotic Chromosome Segregation)
This chapter describes in summary form some of the most important research on chromosome segregation, from the discovery and naming of mitosis in the nineteenth century until around 1990. It gives both historical and scientific background for the nine chapters that follow, each of which provides an up-to-date review of a specific aspect of mitotic mechanism. Here, we trace the fruits of each new technology that allowed a deeper understanding of mitosis and its underlying mechanisms. We describe how light microscopy, including phase, polarization, and fluorescence optics, provided descriptive information about mitotic events and also enabled important experimentation on mitotic functions, such as the dynamics of spindle fibers and the forces generated for chromosome movement. We describe studies by electron microscopy, including quantitative work with serial section reconstructions. We review early results from spindle biochemistry and genetics, coupled to molecular biology, as these methods allowed scholars to identify key molecular components of mitotic mechanisms. We also review hypotheses about mitotic mechanisms whose testing led to a deeper understanding of this fundamental biological event. Our goal is to provide modern scientists with an appreciation of the work that has laid the foundations for their current work and interests. View Full-Text
Keywords: mitosis; mitotic spindle; chromosome; kinetochore; microtubule; motor enzyme; centrosome; tubulin dynamics; force; accuracy mitosis; mitotic spindle; chromosome; kinetochore; microtubule; motor enzyme; centrosome; tubulin dynamics; force; accuracy
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McIntosh, J.R.; Hays, T. A Brief History of Research on Mitotic Mechanisms. Biology 2016, 5, 55.

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