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Mitochondrial Health

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Important cell organelle

What is a Cell?
A cell is the structural and fundamental unit of life. The study of cells from its basic structure to the functions of every cell organelle is called Cell Biology. Robert Hooke was the first Biologist who discovered cells.

All organisms are made up of cells. They may be made up of a single cell (unicellular), or many cells (multicellular). Mycoplasmas are the smallest known cells. Cells are the building blocks of all living beings. They provide structure to the body and convert the nutrients taken from the food into energy.

Cells are complex and their components perform various functions in an organism. They are of different shapes and sizes, pretty much like bricks of the buildings. Our body is made up of cells of different shapes and sizes.

Cells are the lowest level of organisation in every life form. From organism to organism, the count of cells may vary. Humans have the number of cells compared to that of bacteria.

Cells comprise several cell organelles that perform specialised functions to carry out life processes. Every organelle has a specific structure. The hereditary material of the organisms is also present in the cells.

Discovery of Cells
Discovery of cells is one of the remarkable advancements in the field of science. It helps us know that all the organisms are made up of cells, and these cells help in carrying out various life processes. The structure and functions of cells helped us to understand life in a better way.

Who discovered cells?
Robert Hooke discovered the cell in 1665. Robert Hooke observed a piece of bottle cork under a compound microscope and noticed minuscule structures that reminded him of small rooms. Consequently, he named these “rooms” as cells. However, his compound microscope had limited magnification, and hence, he could not see any details in the structure. Owing to this limitation, Hooke concluded that these were non-living entities.

Later Anton Van Leeuwenhoek observed cells under another compound microscope with higher magnification. This time, he had noted that the cells exhibited some form of movement (motility). As a result, Leeuwenhoek concluded that these microscopic entities were “alive.” Eventually, after a host of other observations, these entities were named as animalcules.

In 1883, Robert Brown, a Scottish botanist, provided the very first insights into the cell structure. He was able to describe the nucleus present in the cells of orchids.

Characteristics of Cells
Following are the various essential characteristics of cells:

Cells provide structure and support to the body of an organism.
The cell interior is organised into different individual organelles surrounded by a separate membrane.
The nucleus (major organelle) holds genetic information necessary for reproduction and cell growth.
Every cell has one nucleus and membrane-bound organelles in the cytoplasm.
Mitochondria, a double membrane-bound organelle is mainly responsible for the energy transactions vital for the survival of the cell.
Lysosomes digest unwanted materials in the cell.
Endoplasmic reticulum plays a significant role in the internal organisation of the cell by synthesising selective molecules and processing, directing and sorting them to their appropriate locations.
Also Read: Nucleus

Types of Cells
Cells are similar to factories with different labourers and departments that work towards a common objective. Various types of cells perform different functions. Based on cellular structure, there are two types of cells:

Prokaryotes
Eukaryotes
Explore: Difference Between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

Prokaryotic Cells
Main article: Prokaryotic Cells

Prokaryotic cells have no nucleus. Instead, some prokaryotes such as bacteria have a region within the cell where the genetic material is freely suspended. This region is called the nucleoid.
They all are single-celled microorganisms. Examples include archaea, bacteria, and cyanobacteria.
The cell size ranges from 0.1 to 0.5 µm in diameter.
The hereditary material can either be DNA or RNA.
Prokaryotes reproduce by binary fission, a form of sexual reproduction.
Eukaryotic Cells
Main article: Eukaryotic Cells

Eukaryotic cells are characterised by a true nucleus.
The size of the cells ranges between 10–100 µm in diameter.
This broad category involves plants, fungi, protozoans, and animals.

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