Semi-conservative replication of the genome ensures that each daughter cell receives a full complement of the genome prior to cell division. In eukaryotes, this is achieved by the distinct phases of the cell cycle, namely, G1 phase, during which cells prepare for DNA synthesis; S phase, in which DNA replication is carried out; and G2- M (mitosis), during which the replicated chromosomes segregate into the two newly divided daughter cells. Unlike in eukaryotes, DNA replication in prokaryotes may occur continuously during growth (in rich medium). Thus, the copy number of genomes could exceed two in rapidly growing cells. In the case of viruses, which multiply by utilizing the host cell synthetic machinery and eventually killing them, genome replication may be not controlled. However, plasmid DNA, as well as the genomes of organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts, is replicated with some degree of regulation. In these cases the genomic copy number can vary within limits as a function of growth condition.
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