Alternation of chromosome replication and segregation is essential for successful completion of the cell cycle and it requires an oscillation of Cdk1 (cyclin-dependent kinase 1)–CycB (cyclin B) activity. In the present review, we illustrate the essential features of checkpoint controlled and uncontrolled cell-cycle oscillations by using mechanical metaphors. Despite variations in the molecular details of the oscillatory mechanism, the underlying network motifs responsible for the oscillations are always well-conserved. The checkpoint-controlled cell cycles are always driven by a negative-feedback loop amplified by double-negative feedbacks (antagonism).

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