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That part of the cell cycle during which actual cell division takes place.
The "M" in M phase stands for "Mitosis". More generally, M phase represents a combination of nuclear division/duplication and cytokinesis, with nuclear division the more important component since mitosis does not always lead to cytokinesis (re: schizogony or coenocytic organisms). Indeed, meiosis represents a nuclear division/duplication as well.
In the cell cycle, M phase is preceded by G2 and followed by G1, both of which are gap phases. M phase in the cell cycle also contrast with interphase.
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