Today sees the start of British Science Week, which runs until Sunday 20th March.  This year’s theme is Growth.

Growth is one of the 7 processes that all living things can do and requires protein from the diet to enable it.

Growth itself is simply cell division by mitosis.

The cell spends most of its time just being a cell and carrying out cell functions, a stage of the cell cycle called Interphase.  As the cell then moves into a cell division, it copies its DNA.

Illustration showing the five stages of mitosis.

The cell then goes through a division process, where the copied chromosomes pair up and are pulled to opposite ends of the cell, before forming two genetically identical cells, called daughter cells.

This is how plants and animals grow, but also how bacteria divide, although they do so at a much higher rate!

The cells have checkpoints that they need to meet to go through their cycle in a controlled fashion.  It is when these checkpoints are not met that the cell begins to divide too rapidly and out of control.  This can then lead to cancer.

Keep checking back during Science week for a more on growth!

Until next time, keep calm and apply some Science!

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