As far as I understood it, both are cases of karyokinesis, not followed by cytokinesis.


2 Answers 2


No. If you google the terms you'll get a lot of sites with definitions. For example:

Nuclear division



The process by which a nucleus divides, resulting in the segregation of the genome to opposite poles of a dividing cell.

source: http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Nuclear_division



free nuclear division mitotic division of nuclei without accompanying cytokinesis, i.e. nuclei divide in a common cytoplasm, the cells walls only forming around each later

source: http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/bio_courses/bl14apl/Gloss.htm


endomitosis mitosis taking place without dissolution of the nuclear membrane, and not followed by cytoplasmic division, resulting in doubling of the number of chromosomes within the nucleus.

source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/endomitosis

or a bit more revealing:

Duplicated chromosomes produced by endomitosis exist as discrete units in a single polyploid nucleus or may be packaged into separate nuclei, depending on the phase at which mitosis is aborted

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endoreduplication

So as you see by definition nuclear division is part of a bigger process (cell division), and accoriding to the first source karyokinesis is a synonim for nuclear division (karyo = nucleus kinesis = moving, both come form greek language).


If you check the definition above, you can see that free-nuclear division is a mitosis without cytokinesis, thus chromosome separation still occurs.

In endomitosis the can end up with a polyploid nucleus, in contrast to the other two aforementioned mechanism where no polyploidy occurs.

  • $\begingroup$ I was talking about free nuclear divisions, not just nuclear division - which is just karyokinesis. Free nuclear divisions happen for instance during formation of the female gametophyte from the megaspore in angiosperms - the nucleus divides but separate cells don't form. $\endgroup$
    – Charles
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Oh I see, I missed that part sorry. I will look into that $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ I have a doubt though: in case when endomitosis is aborted in between anaphase (i.e. centromere splits but chromatids are not segregated) then in that case I thought nuclear membrane has disappeared in prophase, and now reforms to enclose 4n chromosomes. But one of these definitions says the nuclear membrane does not disintegrate - so how can spindle fibres attach to the chromosomes? Then again, since chromatids don't separate, spindle fibre formation isn't needed and may not occur. $\endgroup$
    – Charles
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Errors / failures / abortions in during mitosis results (most of the time) in pausing the process to try to fix the problem and if its not possible than the cell undergoes apoptosis to avoid having cells with abnormal genome. If somehow the cell still gets through (cell) division, then you get abnormal cells with chromosome trisomies, missing chromosomets etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 17:45

In the cases of pollen grains free nuclear division occurs. entering into the s phase the chromosome no remains as 46 but the DNA doubles ie 4n condition occurs. During the anaphase the sister chromatids separate and reaches both ends. And when telo phase occurs nuclear membrane is surrounded around 2 genetic material. But cytokinesis is blocked there. But when again this cell enters s phase there again the genetic material replicated ie 2 nucleus having 4n condition is formed.this is free nuclear mitosis. These chromosomes doesn't separate in anaphase due to failure in attachment of spindle fibres. So karyokinesis also get stopped resulting cell to 8n condition or polyploidy. This is endomitosis

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome - can you add your sources here so people can background read on your answer? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 22:41

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