Mitosis is central to the propagation of life
As a result of an unbroken chain of cell divisions, every human, animal, and plant can theoretically trace their ancestry to a single primordial eukaryotic cell. One of the central events in cell division is mitosis, which results in each daughter cell inheriting a genome consisting of a complete set of chromosomes. Every day, billions (probably much more!) of cells in the human body divide, so chromosome segregation must be done with exquisite precision. Unfortunately, segregation errors do occur, and can lead to birth disorders and cancer progression.
Even though mitosis has been studied for more than a century, we still do not understand all the molecular details. We seek to determine how hundreds of different proteins work together to maintain genomic integrity, and how this intricate process can fail.
To gain even more insights into how cells segregate chromosomes, we use state-of-the-art electron tomography and light microscopy to image the mitotic machinery in its native context inside a cell.
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