Conditional "cycle-blocked" (cb) mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii have been detected and isolated. These mutants exhibit normal vegetative growth at permissive temperature but are unable to complete a cell cycle (or a specified number of cell cycles) at restrictive temperature. A simple technique has been devised to determine the cell cycle stage in each mutant when the defective gene product, which ultimately affects cell division, completes its function. This stage is called the "block point", and is determined by scoring the residual cell division in an exponentially growing population after shift to temperature restrictive conditions. In the cb mutants isolated so far, block points representing many stages throughout the cell cycle have been found. Two categories of cb mutants are described here: one set which prevents the subsequent cell division when the cell encounters the block point after a shift to restrictive temperature, and another set which permits an additional round of cell division after the block point is encountered. The general applicability of block point analysis to other cell systems is presented.

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