I understand that after a cell replicates, there will be two daughter cells instead of one. But wouldn't one of them be the old cell that created the second one?

The old cell having gone through G0, interphase, and mitosis and after dividing wouldn't it be somewhat different from the new cell (the old cell's telomeres having shortened, having already undergone the cell cycle and so on)?

  • $\begingroup$ There is one large cell with the duplicated chromosomes that then is split down the middle to make the two daughter cells. Its like taking a slice of bread and ripping it in two, to a degree. $\endgroup$ – Ro Siv Jan 17 '16 at 23:19

Here is a picture to expand on my comment better. From wikipedia:

enter image description here

In the above diagram, the red chromosome represents one homolog while the blue chromosome represents the other homolog in the pair. After replication in Interphase, you have two homologs, each consisting of duplicated sister chromatids. You can see how we have the one enlarged cell in Mitosis be cleaved into two daughter(diploid) cells.


Actually, the answer is not obvious. @RoSiv gives the textbook case of symmetric cell division, where the two new cells can indeed be considered identical, and this is valid in many cases. But there are also cases of asymmetric cell division, where the "mother" and "daughter" cell are clearly different.

In asymmetric cell division, the parent cell is polarized already before division by gathering certain proteins at one end of the plasma membrane. Therefore, during replication one of the the two new cells obtains certain proteins while the other does not, which makes them distinct. See this article for details.

Asymmetric cell division occurs among other things during embryo development, where it is important to establish body plan asymmetry. It is also the basis for the stem cell concept: stem cells are thought to divide asymmetrically so that the "mother cell" remains a stem cell (stays immortal) while the "daughter cell" becomes mortal and differentiates.

  • $\begingroup$ I see. Thank you for further explanations and detailing. $\endgroup$ – Vladimir Jan 18 '16 at 12:30

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