Mitotic spindles have been isolated from the blastema stage of Drosophila melanogaster embryos using modified tubulin-polymerizing medium. ‘Clean’ spindles, relatively free of contaminating cytoplasmic material, are obtained. Under phase contrast, mitotic stages appear remarkably similar to those seen in situ, as reported in early literature. This preservation of morphological integrity, coupled with relative structural simplicity due to low chromosome number (2n = 8), makes these spindles ideal subjects for study. Use of the scanning electron microscope provides excellent visulization of their general structural organization, changes in whole spindle structure during the course of mitosis, and higher resolution viewing of surface detail than is permitted with light microscopy.

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