Observing mitosis in root cells

Mitosis is a process where a single cell divides into two identical daughter cells. To see mitosis in action one needs to look at living cells. This could be examined by the following experiment.

Preparation

  1. Cut off 1-2 cm of the root tips. Put in a small volume of ethanoic acid on a watch glass
  2. Meanwhile, heat 10-25 cm3 of 1 M hydrochloric acid to 60 °C in a water bath
  3. Wash the root tips in cold water for 4-5 minutes and dry on filter paper
  4. Use a mounted needle to transfer the root tips to the hot hydrochloric acid and leave for 5 minutes.
  5. Wash the root tips again in cold water for 4-5 minutes and dry on filter paper
  6. Use the mounted needle to remove two root tips onto a clean microscope slide
  7. Cut each about 2 mm from the growing root tip. Discard the rest, but keep the tips
  8. Add a small drop of stain and leave for 2 minutes
  9. Break up the tissue with scissors and add a drop of water
  10. Cover with a coverslip and squash

Investigation

 -View the root tips under a microscope and look for the chromosomes within cells which are actively dividing

-Observe the different stages of Mitosis

 

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