The anaphase-telophase spindle usually elongates, and it has been assumed that the spindle pushes the incipient daughter nuclei apart. To test this assumption, we used a laser microbeam to sever the central spindle of the fungus, Fusarium solani, and measured the rate of separation of incipient daughter nuclei. When the microbeam was aimed beside the spindle separation occurred at a rate (8.6 micrometer/min) that did not differ significantly from the rate (7.6 micrometer/m) in unirradiated cells. But when the spindle was irradiated, it broke, and the separation was much faster (22.4 micrometer/min). Irradiation of cytoplasm lateral to one spindle pole resulted in a 1.5 micrometer/min reduction in the rate (6.1 micrometer/min) of separation. From these and other data, we infer that extranuclear forces, presumably involving astral microtubules, pull on the incipient daughter nuclei and that the central spindle limits the separation rate. Astral microtubules are associated with the plasma membrane or, sometimes, with the rough endoplasmic reticulum. Most of the spindle microtubules that are present at metaphase are depolymerized during anaphase and early telophase.

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