The endosperm cells of the American basswood Tilia americana are favorable experimental material for investigating the birefringence of living plant spindles and anaphase movement of chromosomes. The behavior of the chromosomes in anaphase and the formation of the phragmoplast are unique. The numerous (3 n equals 123), small chromosomes move in precise, parallel rows until midanaphase when they bow away from the poles. Such a pattern of anaphase chromosome distribution has been described once before, but was ascribed to fusion of the chromosomes. The bowing of chromosome rows in Tilia is explainable quantitatively by the constant poleward velocity of the chromosomes during anaphase. Peripheral chromosomes are moving both relative to the spindle axis and laterally closer to the axis, whereas chromosomes lying on the spindle axis possess no lateral component in their motion, and thus at uniform velocity progress more rapidly than peripheral chromosomes relative to the spindle axis. The chromosomes are moved poleward initially by pole-to-pole elongation of the spindle, then moved farther apart by shortening of the kinetochore fibers. In contrast to other plant cells where the phragmoplast forms in telophase, the phragmoplast in Tilia endosperm is formed before midanaphase and the cell during midanaphase, while the chromosomes are still in poleward transit.

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