General Interview Questions - Cell Division, Differentiation & Death
Where do cells come from? How do they die?

What is the basic difference between mitosis and meiosis?

What does it mean for a cell to differentiate?
What is the difference between a somatic and a germ line cell?
What is special about a stem cell?
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1.All cells are derived from preexisting cells by the process of cell division. Cells die either because they are damaged (necrosis) or by the active process of programmed cells death (apoptosis).
2.During typical cell division, the two daughter cells can receive the same number of chromosomes as were present in the mother cells (mitosis) or half the number of chromosomes (meiosis).
3.In eukaryotic cells, the processes of chromosome segregation (mitosis and meiosis) are mediated by a macromolecular machine, the spindle. The spindle is composed of microtubules, microtubule-associated and chromosome-associated proteins.
4.In eukaryotic cells, the processes of cell division (cytokinesis) is mediated by a macromolecular machine, the cleavage furrow in animal cells and the phragmoplast in plants. In prokaryotes, the formation of a septum divides cells.
5. In multicellular eukaryotes, cells can be part of the body (somatic cells) or the germ line. Most somatic cell can divide only a limited number of times before they senesce. The exception of stem cells, which can divide in an unlimited manner.
6. Stem cells divide asymmetrically, one daughter remains a stem cell and the other goes on to differentiate.
7. Cellular differentiation is associated with changes in gene expression, that is which genes are transcribed and which gene products (RNAs and polypeptides) accumulate and are active.
8. Cellular differentiation is often associated with changes in the organization of the chromatin, so that these changes may be effectively irreversible.
9. To survive and differentiate correctly, cells depend upon external signals. Generally these include secrete factors made by neighboring cells.
10. In the absence of the appropriate external signals, a normal cell will undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis).
11. While the death of a damaged (necrotic) cell leads to inflammation, apoptotic cell death does not, and the cell corpse is rapidly engulfed by neighboring cells.
12. S phase (DNA replication) and M phase (mitosis) are temporally distinct stages of the cell cycle.

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