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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Apr 1973; 70(4): 1263–1267.
PMCID: PMC433472

Do Cells Cycle?

Abstract

We propose that a cell's life is divided into two fundamentally different parts. Some time after mitosis all cells enter a state (A) in which their activity is not directed towards replication. A cell may remain in the A-state for any lenght of time, throughout which its probability of leaving A-state remains constant. On leaving A-state, cells enter B-phase in which their activities are deterministic, and directed towards replication. Initiation of cell replication processes is thus random, in the sense that radioactive decay is random. Cell population growth rates are determined by the probability with which cells leave the A-state, the duration of the B-phase, and the rate of cell death. Knowledge of these parameters permits precise calculation of the distribution of intermitotic times within populations, the behavior of synchronized cell cultures, and the shape of labeled mitosis curves.

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