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Cells - The basics

All plants and animals are made up of the same living organisms. Theses are called Cells. If a microscope was to be used to view any structure from plants or animals then there will be distinct units (which are cells). Cells are too small to be seen with the naked eye but millions upon billions of these extremely small cells make up body structures and even organs.

The cells are specially designed to do a singular function depending on where it is located. For example a muscle cell will be able to produce large amounts of energy in a short amount of time, as contraction of a muscle needs lots of energy. There are no “typical” cells, which are unified for plants and animals.

Parts of the Cell

Cell membrane

This is an extremely thin flexible membrane, which is selectively permeable allowing only a selection of substances through and stops any other substances from passing into or out of the cell. It retains the contents within the cell and can control the rate of substances that move in and out of the cell.

Cell Wall

A cell wall is only existent in plant cells. They are found on the outside of the cell membrane. The Cell Wall is acts as a structure support as it confers the shape and the rigidity of the cell. When the cell is you’re the cell wall is very plastic and extensible however when the cell has matured, the cell wall begins to become tough and will begin to resist stretching.

Protoplasm

This is the content within the cell. This is truly an alive part of the cell. There are two main kinds of protoplasm. There is the protoplasm, which constituted the nucleus called the nucleoplasm, and all other forms of protoplasm are referred to cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is a jelly like substance, which is transparent and semi-solid. It may contain particles such as chloroplasts or starch grains. The fundamental processes to life are carried out in the cytoplasm. As the Cell Membrane is selectively permeable, it helps the maintenance of the best conditions for the chemical reactions within the cytoplasm.

Nucleus

The nucleus consists of a nucleoplasm, which is bounded by a nuclear membrane. It is always positions in the cytoplasm, frequently ovoid in shape and lighter in colour than the cytoplasm. Diagrams tend to show the Nucleus as a darker colour but that is only because certain dyes are used in the lab to show where the nucleus is as with no dyes it would be hard to find due to its colour is almost the same as the cytoplasm. The Nucleus is referred to the center of chemical activity determining the shape, size and function of the cell and controls most of the physiological processes within it. If the nucleus is not present within a cell then the cell is not capable of its normal functions or divisions but it may still be able to continue to live for some time. The nucleus initiates when the cell begins to divide and controls the process throughout division.

Vacuole

In animal cells there may be small droplets of fluid in the cytoplasm that are different in size and differ with positions. In a plant cell the vacuole is normally a large, permanent and fluid filled cavity occupying the grater part of the cell. The fluid within the plant vacuole is called cell sap that may contain different salts, sugar and pigments that are dissolved in water. The outward pressure of the vacuole on the cell wall makes the plant cells firm, giving strength and resilience to the tissues.

Cell Division

Some, but not all, cells are able to divide and produce new cells. Cell division and the growth of cells results into the growth of organisms.

It is important to remember that even though cells may look flat in sections or even look like thin strips of tissue, they are in fact three-dimensional and may have different shapes, which are according to the direction in which the section is cut. This is very usual in muscle types of tissue. So do not be fooled by cross section images.

Differences of plant and animal cells

1.There is a wide variation of plant cells but plant cells are usually easier to explain under the microscope dues to the fact of the cells are larger than animal cells and the cell walls give them a distinct outline.

2.The cell walls in plant cells are made from cellulous while animal cells do not have any definite walls and do not possess any cellulous.

3.There is only a thin lining of cytoplasm in plant cells while an animal cell mainly consists of cytoplasm. In an animal cell if there are any vacuoles present, these are temporary and small as they’re concerned with the excretion and secretion of substances.

4.Plant cells contain chloroplast but an animal cell will never contain chloroplasts, as chloroplasts are what undergo photosynthesis in a plant cell leaf.

Relation of cells as a whole for the organism

A cell is not capable to exist on its own even though it might be able to carry on the vital chemistry of living for example a muscle cell cannot get its own food and oxygen without the use of other specialized cells. These other specialized cells are present in a tissue or organ to collect food or carry oxygen. Individual cells cannot live on their own or exist for long but can live if they’re grouped together in large numbers and work together by the coordinating mechanisms of the body.

Tissue

Tissues (such as bone, muscle or nerves) are made up of many hundreds of cells of one or more (a few) types with each cell having more or less the same structure and function so tissue is said to have a specific functions. i.e. Nerves have a function of conducting impulses.

Organs

These types of group of cells consist of several tissues grouped together to create a functional unit. For example, a muscle is an organ, which contains long muscle cells that are held together by connective tissue and permeated with blood vessels and nerve fibers. When the muscle receives a nerve impulse the muscle fibers begin to contract using the food and oxygen brought to the organ in the blood vessels to provide the necessary energy.

A system

This usually refers to the series of organs where the functions are coordinated to produce effective action in the organism.

An organism

This is a result from the careful and natural coordination of the organs and systems to produce an individual that is capable of separate existence and able to perpetuate its own kind.

Biology


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