AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between cell differentiation and cell division?

Posted November 30, 2023


Basis of differentiation

Cell differentiation

Cell division


Is the process of cells becoming specialized from another type of cell for specific functions

Is the process of forming new daughter cells from a parent cell

End result

Produces distinct cell types (e.g. neurons, cardiomyocytes)

Produces gametes and genetically identical daughter cells 


Can occur at any stage in an organism's life cycle

Normally occurs during specific phases such as mitosis


To form specialized cell types with specific functions in tissues

To increase the number of cells for growth, development, and repair

Genetic material

The genetic material remains the same, however there are alterations in gene expression 

The genetic material is duplicated and divided between daughter cells 


Cellular differentiation is regulated by growth factors and transcription factors

Is regulated by the cell cycle checkpoints  

Additional resources

Coordinating cell proliferation and differentiation: Antagonism between cell cycle regulators and cell type-specific gene expression

Cell Proliferation Assays

Bucculite™ Flow Cytometric XdU Cell Proliferation Assay Kit *Blue Laser-Comptatible*