The Beauty of Mitosis: University and School Versions
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(Sep 27, 2010)
The Beauty of Mitosis: University and School Versions is a set of two educational films (two DVDs), a University Version (25 min) and a School Version (12 min), on the fundamental process of nuclear division that mediates the transmission of exact copies of the nuclear hereditary material of a mother cell to its two daughter cells. The main actors in mitosis are the chromosomes and the spindle. The chromosomes are distinguishable entities and contain the condensed hereditary material that has passed one cycle of replication. The spindle is a fibrous structure composed of tubulin microtubules. Connections and interactions between chromosomes and spindle fibres lead to a highly orchestrated movement of chromosomes to the middle of the spindle, their longitudinal splitting into two identical halves and their migration to the spindle poles, forming two daughter chromosome groups, and ultimately two daughter nuclei in the two daughter cells. The fact that the daughter cells receive exact copies of the nuclear hereditary material of the mother cell is a major foundation behind all biological existence and continuity. The nuclear divisions in the endosperm of blood lily Scadoxus multiflorus ssp. katharinae (syn. Haemanthus katharinae) seeds is the material of choice to demonstrate mitosis. This is grounded on the advantages of observing synchronous divisions of nuclei that share a common cytoplasm, without intervening cell walls, which is the case at early stages of seed development.
The unique and classical time-lapse cinematographic documentation of mitosis in Scadoxus (Haemanthus) made by Andrew Bajer and Jadwiga Molè-Bajer (University of Oregon, Eugene, USA) has been rescued and is now available in this digital form.
In the University Version (25 min) of The Beauty of Mitosis, various aspects of normal mitosis, spontaneous aberrations and effects of chemicals, UV-irradiation and X-rays are exemplified. Features such as duration of mitosis, behaviour of ring chromosomes, colchicine effects, multipolar division as well as chromosome nondisjunction and breakage are elucidated. Phase contrast cinematography is complemented with schematic drawings and photographs of the different stages of mitosis as seen after bright field and differential interference contrast microscopy as well as scanning electron microscopy.
In the School Version (12 min) of The Beauty of Mitosis, phase contrast cinematography of normal mitosis, chromatin condensation and the duration of mitotic stages are complemented with schematic drawings and bright field photographs of the mitotic stages. Features of aberrant mitosis are exemplified by chromosome nondisjunction and fragmentation induced by exposure to UV-irradiation and X-rays.
In both versions, cinematographic sequences and still pictures are referred to by necessary explanatory text. Chopin´s piano concerto no.1 fits well as background music.
The detailed University Version (25 min) is an educational film meant for university students and researchers, as a complement to genetic and cytology courses in life sciences and medicine. The short School Version (12 min) is an educational film meant for school students, as a complement to the lectures of biology teachers.
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