Metaphase is the shortest and second phase in mitosis. Often, it will only last a few minutes.
During metaphase, the chromosomes line up across the equator (center) of the cell. Microtubles attach the centromere of each chromosome to the poles of the spindle. The microtubles are called asters because of their starlike arrangement around the poles. Aster is the Greek word for star.
Images of cells in metaphase:
In this image, chromosomes (stained black) line up across the equator of the cell. Spindle fibers are visible.
In this image, chromosomes are stained blue, spindle fibers and microtubles are stained green, and actin is stained red.
Once metaphase is completed, the cell moves on to anaphase, the third phase of mitosis.
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