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The prophase of an animal cell is when the chromosomes gradually shorten and thicken. The duplicated chromosomes become increasingly obvious during prophase. There is also a gradual disappearance of the nuclear boundary and the nucleolus. Toward the end of prophase the chromosomes migrate to the equatorial plane of the dividing nucleus and the mitotic spindle begins to be organized between the centrioles. As the centrioles move to the opposite poles of the nucleus, the spindle enlarges and moves through the nuclear region.

These two cells show the chromosomes in blue, the developing spindles in green, and actin distribution within the cell in red.

Prophase images acquired using the confocal microscope. Click each image to view a high-resolution, 24-bit TIFF.
Prophase Sample #1Prophase Sample #2

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