Related topics: protein · cancer cells · cancer · stem cells · immune system

A rapid, easy-to-use DNA amplification method at 37 Celcius

Scientists in Japan have developed a way of amplifying DNA on a scale suitable for use in the emerging fields of DNA-based computing and molecular robotics. By enabling highly sensitive nucleic acid detection, their method ...

Raising fluid walls around living cells

Cell culture plates that are in everyday use in biology can be effectively transformed into microfluidic devices, opening paths for biologists to miniaturize cell-based workflows. In a recent report, Ph.D. researcher Cristian ...

Research uncovers elusive process essential to plant greening

Despite how essential plants are for life on Earth, little is known about how parts of plant cells orchestrate growth and greening. By creating mutant plants, UC Riverside researchers have uncovered a cellular communication ...

Environmental oxygen triggers loss of webbed digits

Free fingers have many obvious advantages on land, such as in locomotion and grasping, while webbed fingers are typical of aquatic or gliding animals. But both amphibians and amniotes—which include mammals, reptiles, and ...

The start of a new era in stem cell therapy

A recent study published in the April 8 issue of Nature Chemical Biology improves on the "Cellular Reprogramming" method developed by Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Prof. Shinya Yamanaka, making it possible to ...

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Cell (biology)

The cell is the structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of an organism that is classified as living, and is often called the building block of life. Some organisms, such as most bacteria, are unicellular (consist of a single cell). Other organisms, such as humans, are multicellular. (Humans have an estimated 100 trillion or 1014 cells; a typical cell size is 10 µm; a typical cell mass is 1 nanogram.) The largest known cell is an unfertilized ostrich egg cell.

In 1835 before the final cell theory was developed, a Czech Jan Evangelista Purkyně observed small "granules" while looking at the plant tissue through a microscope. The cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, states that all organisms are composed of one or more cells. All cells come from preexisting cells. Vital functions of an organism occur within cells, and all cells contain the hereditary information necessary for regulating cell functions and for transmitting information to the next generation of cells.

The word cell comes from the Latin cellula, meaning, a small room. The descriptive name for the smallest living biological structure was chosen by Robert Hooke in a book he published in 1665 when he compared the cork cells he saw through his microscope to the small rooms monks lived in.

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