CELL- THE BASIC UNIT OF LIFE

INTRODUCTION –  Human body is complex. It consists of several organs, nerves, blood vessels, all structured in a specific way, performing a defined work for the sustenance of the individual. The body can be compared to a building with multiple rooms, all intertwined, giving rise to a beautiful building. But even a building has a basic unit from which it is made. It is a brick. Several bricks together structured in a defined way pave way for the building. Similarly, in a human body, which is often compared to a building with God being its engineer, the basic unit is a Cell.

Never try to view Cells through naked eyes. Because it won’t be possible as cells are microscopic and can only be viewed with the help of high-power microscopes!

Number of Cells –  Is the number of cells in the body of an organism defined? Is it that a dog has ‘n’ number of cells and a cat has ‘x’ number of cells?

Cells are present in different organisms in different numbers and vary in shape and performance. As far as the number of cells in an organism is concerned, it runs in 

billions and trillions and it is nearly impossible to take an actual count of the cells.

Organisms made of more than one cell are called multicellular. Whereas, organisms that sustain with only a single cell are called unicellular organisms.

Shape of cells –   Generally, cells are round, spherical, and elongated in shape. Some are pointed at the ends and all these cells carry out different functions. Other shapes may also be present but that is totally dependent on the function of that specific cell.

 Cell Size –  How big are cells if they run into billions and trillions are still not visible without the help of a microscope?

Well, the size of cells in living organisms may be as small as a millionth of a meter or maybe as large as a few centimeters. The smallest cell is 0.1 to 0.5 micrometer in bacteria. The largest cell is that of an ostrich which measures 170mm*130mm.

Cell structure and function – As stated earlier, the human body is a complex structure made up of different organs. Each organ has a particular function to perform and is inevitable to an individual. The organ is made of tissues that are nothing but a group of similar cells performing a specific function.

Therefore cells combine together to form a tissue and tissues, in turn, combine to give rise to an organ. 

Parts of a cell –  Just like the body is made up of organs, organs form tissues and tissues form cells, similarly, a cell also has certain components from which it is made. Components that keep it safe and aid in its living among billions of other cells.

Let us look into some of the important parts of the cell.

a) CELL MEMBRANE – The other two important parts of a cell, the cytoplasm, and the nucleus are enclosed within this membrane. The membrane separates cells from one another and also the cell forms the surrounding medium to ensure its continuity. The membrane is porous and allows easy movement of substances or materials both inward and outward.

b)CYTOPLASM – It is the jelly-like substance present between the cell membrane and the nucleus. Various other components of the cell are safely enclosed in the cytoplasm.

c)NUCLEUS- It is an important component of the living cell. It is generally spherical and located in the centre of the cell. The nucleus is separated from the cytoplasm by the nuclear membrane. The nucleus, in addition to its role in inheritance, acts as the control centre of the activities of the cell. 

Conclusion-   Cell is indeed a wonderful creation. With a microscopic size and various functions to perform, carrying inside it so many components, it is definitely a wonder to read and know about it. 

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