Difference between karyokinesis and cytokinesis

Just like breathing is important to us humans there are some processes which take place after fertilization which are important to create a new life on earth. These processes are important but sometimes we fail to understand the difference between them and the stages they go through.

Today we will be seeing 7 important differences between the important processes like karyokinesis and cytokinesis

Difference between karyokinesis and cytokinesis:

Karyokinesis Cytokinesis
1. Karyokinesis is the first step of mitosis Cytokinesis is the second step of mitosis
2. Karyokinesis is the division of nucleus to further form two daughter nuceli Cytokinesis is the division of the cytoplasm of the parent cells which futher forms two daughter cells
3. Karyokinesis is similar to the process of separation of daughter chromosomes in two daughter nuclei Cytokinesis is similar to the process of separation of daughter nuclei in two daughter cells
4. Karyokinesis equally distributes the genetic material Cytokinesis distributes only the organelles and cytoplasm including nuclei into the daughter cells
5. Karyokinesis does not depend upon cytokinesis Cytokinesis depends upon karyokinesis
6. Karyokinesis is the formation of spindle and movement of chromosomes take place Cytokinesis uses disassembles micro-tubules but there is no chromosomal movement taking place
7. Karyokinesis takes place in 5 phases: Prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase Cytokinesis does not involve any phase

What is mitosis ?

Mitosis is a part of the cell cycle which when replicated the chromosomes are separated forming two new daughter nuclei or cells. This is contains processes karyokinesis and cytokinesis. These two are individual process which form one process called mitosis.


Cell cycle also known as cell division is the process where cell leading to duplication takes place and it occurs in a series of events (Karyokinesis and Cytokinesis).

What is karyokinesis ?

This is the very first stage that takes place in mitosis. Karyokinesis is division of the cell nucleus resulting in two daughter nuclei. This whole process occurs in 5 phases: Prophase, Prometaphase, Metaphase, Anaphase and Telophase.

  1. Prophase - This is the first phase of karyokinesis which separates the duplicated genetic material the parent nucleus carries and then it forms into two daughter cells. 
  2. Prometaphase - This is the second phase of karyokinesis. Here the membrane which is surrounding the nucleus breaks down. 
  3. Metaphase - This is the third phase of karyokinesis where the chromosomes obtained form the parent nucleus are formed in a straight line in the middle of the cell. 
  4. Anaphase - This is the forth phase of karyokinesis where the chromosomes which have been replicated are split and the new chromosomes which are forming are both moved to each end of the cell.
  5. Telophase - This is the fifth and the last phase of karyokinesis. This starts the formation of two daughter nuclei immediately after the new chromosomes and the duplicated chromosomes are pulled to opposite sides of the cell. 


What is cytokinesis ?

This is the second process which starts after karyokinesis and you need to know that this is a whole another process from karyokinesis. Sometimes cytokinesis is not a part of the mitosis process and it makes a totally different process of itself results in formation of single cell but with multiple nuclei in it. Eg, in fungi, slime molds and coenocytic algae. Unlike karyokinesis, cytokinesis is a simple process with no phases involved.


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