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Plane marking the middle of cells, where chromosomes line up prior to being pulled to opposite ends of cells during mitosis and meiosis.
The metaphase plate actually represents the approximate equidistant point between centrosomes (in those organisms in which centrosomes exist), which spread over the breadth of a cell works out to being a plane rather than line or single point. Less abstractly, the metaphase plate is the area (of a plane) found in the middle of cell upon which metaphase chromosomes line up prior to being separated at the centromere marking the start of anaphase.
Metaphase can be described as a more or less static phase, and that stasis occurs with the chromosomes lined up on the metaphase plate.
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