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A cell cycle is a crucial process occurring in all cells, which is essential for the growth and development of organisms. The current definition for the phenomenon states that a cell cycle is a “series of complex events involving cellular and nuclear processes through particular phases that ensure the cell’s division into two daughter cells” (Campbell & Fishel, 2015, p. 13). Although the general idea of a cell cycle is similar across all kingdoms, there are noticeable differences when it comes to the specifics of cell cycles in animals, plants, and bacteria. Scrutinizing these differences will give one a profound insight into the characteristics of the types of organisms mentioned above.
The cell cycle in animal cells is represented by the division of a parent cell into two daughter cells. The process involves three key phases, which are G1, G2, and Synthesis. During the G1 step, crucial metabolic processes occur in a cell, thus setting the stage for further division. The entirety of the cellular content except for its DNA is duplicated in the course of the G1 stage completion. The interim S stage, in turn, includes the processes during which each chromosome is duplicated so that it could be represented by two sister chromatids (“Chapter 10 – Cell Reproduction”).
The G2 step that follows the previous one involves the metabolic changes within a cell leading to the arrangement of cytoplasmic materials. The latter, in turn, will be used to set and enhance the processes of mitosis and cytokinesis (“Chapter 10 – Cell Reproduction”). Finally, at the M stage, the cell division process, also known as cytokinesis, is preceded by the nucleus division, or mitosis. After the described process is over, the division is finished, and two daughter cells emerge instead of the parental one.
The process of cell division in plants is similar to that one of animal cells due to the presence of a nucleus in both types of cells. Thus, the process of DNA transfer and the related stages of the cell cycle is similar in both animal and plant cells. However, there are certain differences in the way in which plant cells divide. For example, unlike animal cells, the ones that belong to the plant kingdom do not form gametes but, instead, create spores that afterward turn into gametophytes (“Chapter 9 – Cell Communication”).
Therefore, the ability to produce gametes can be regarded as the distinctive feature of animal cells that do not occur in any other type of cells across the three kingdoms (“Chapter 9 – Cell Communication”).
When analyzing the differences and similarities between cell cycles in different cell types, one will have to mention that the identified processes in bacteria are distinctively different from those in plants and animals. While the latter two share a sizeable number of common characteristics, bacteria only have the bare minimum of similarities to the animal and plant cells. The observed characteristic can be explained by the absence of a nucleus and, consequently, the lack of an actual DNA strand in a prokaryotic cell (“Chapter 9 – Cell Communication”).
For example, unlike the animal and plant cell types, one of a bacteria includes only B, C, and D stages, during which the processes that are similar to the ones of the plastid division take place (“Chapter 9 – Cell Communication”). Specifically, a dividing ring with FtsZ as its key protein can be observed during the process (“Chapter 10 – Cell Reproduction”).
In addition, among the fundamental differences between the cell cycles of animals and those of bacteria and plants, the fact that the former contributes to the creation of gametes needs to be mentioned. The specified characteristic is only typical of animal cells and is not observed in either plants or bacteria. Therefore, the result of cell division in animals is significantly different from those of plants and bacteria.
Furthermore, there are significant differences in the way in which mitosis and mitosis occur in animal, plant, and bacteria cells. Unlike in bacteria and plants, in animal cells, the process of mitosis involves cell furrowing, which cannot occur in plants and bacteria due to the difference in the cell thickness (“Chapter 9 – Cell Communication”). The meiosis stage, in turn, is also different in animal cells since the latter produce gametes as opposed to identical daughter cells (“Chapter 10 – Cell Reproduction”). The specified characteristic of the animal cells sets them apart from the cells of plants and bacteria.
The phenomenon of the cell cycle is a common characteristic of all cells and a crucial component of any organism’s functioning. However, depending on the type of cell, its division may include different stages that vary extensively. An overview of the characteristics that the cell division process in cells belonging to each kingdom has shown that there are certain common aspects thereof, such as the specifics of meiosis and mitosis, which are quite different in the cells of animals, plants, and bacteria. Due to the absence of DNA in bacteria, the production of gametes can be seen as the unique property of animal cells. Understanding these differences is the key to the successful analysis of the processes occurring during a cell cycle.
Campbell, A., & Fishel, S. (Eds.). (2015). Atlas of time lapse embryology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
“Chapter 9 – Cell Communication.” Georgia Highlands College, n.d. Web.
“Chapter 10 – Cell Reproduction.” Georgia Highlands College, n.d. Web.