Data obtained with time lapse cinemicrographic techniques showed that the distribution of generation times for exponentially proliferating human amnion cells in culture is skewed to the right and that reciprocals of generation times appear normally distributed. As shown for bacteria, the true age distribution is much broader than theoretical distributions which fail to take into account the dispersion of generation times. By means of the technique utilizing autoradiographic detection of tritiated thymidine in cells whose mitotic histories were recorded by time lapse cinemicrography, it was shown that the G1 distribution is similar to the generation time distribution but is more variable. In our experiments, the G2 + prophase distribution resembled the generation time and G1 distributions. The data suggested two possibilities for S: either it is relatively constant, or it is inversely related to the lengths of G1 and G2 + prophase. Since G1 is more variable than the total cycle, and G2 + prophase more variable than the computed sum of S + G2 + prophase + metaphase, it was concluded that the relationships between parts of the cycle are non-random and that compensating mechanisms apparently help regulate the lengths of successive parts of the mitotic cycle in individual cells.

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