The nuclear division of Oxyrrhis marina is a very distinct one among the mitoses of dinoflagellates that have been studies. Using synchronized populations, we have investigated the ultrastructural changes in this nuclear division. In interphase, nuclei can be classified into two groups on the basis of the shapes of the chromosomes. Y- and U-shaped chromosomes have been observed in both types of interphase nuclei. By prophase the nucleus becomes oval, many nuclear plaques appear on the nuclear envelope, and many microtubules radiate from these nuclear plaques within the nucleus. Metaphase can be identified by the characteristic arrangement of the chromosomes; an equatorial metaphase plate is absent. As in many higher organisms, anaphase includes two stages: anaphase A and anaphase B. During anaphase A the nucleus does not apparently elongate and the chromosomes migrate towards the poles by a combination of the shortening of the chromosome-associated microtubules and the elongation of those located between daughter chromosomes. During anaphase B the nucleus elongates to about twice its former length. This elongation may result from growth of the interzonal nuclear envelope. Dividing nucleoli are associated with microtubules, which suggests that microtubules may play an active role in the division of the nucleolus. The evolution of mitosis and the phylogenetic relationships between Oxyrrhis, typical dinoflagellates and Syndinium are discussed.

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