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At what phase does this occur in mitosis (or even meiosis); some text books say prophase while others say metaphase.

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    $\begingroup$ Would you like quoting which book said what? $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ Happens in prometaphase. $\endgroup$
    – Macedon93
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 13:00

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Your confusion comes from the inconsistent terminology in the literature. The attachement of the spindles to the chromosomes happens in the Prometaphase [1, 2]. The name already suggests that this is not one of the classical phases is cell division, but lies somewhere between Pro- and metaphase. Wikipedia states:

Prometaphase is sometimes simply included as part of the end of prophase and early metaphase.

If you really need to stick to the classical scheme of pro-, meta-, ana- and telophase, I would personally suggest to treat the attachement (not the formation!) of spindles as a part of the metaphase.

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