The cells in the body divide to create new cells. This process is called mitosis. A cell that is in the process of dividing is called a mitotic figure. In order to produce two, new healthy daughter cells, the parent cell must create a second copy of its genetic material, also known as DNA. When the parent cell divides, each daughter cell receives one complete copy.
Atypical mitotic figure is a term that pathologists use to describe a dividing cell that has created an abnormal amount of genetic material and is unequally dividing that genetic material between the daughter cells. Atypical mitotic figures are commonly seen in cancers; they can rarely be seen in other conditions, such as tissue that has been exposed to radiation.