What is the cell?


The cell is an anatomical and functional unit of living beings composed of a cytoplasm and a core protected by a membrane. The word cell is of Latin origin “cellula”.

What is the cell

The cell is the minimum component and has the life of an organism. In this way, all living beings are formed by at least one cell, and each one is derived from another. The discipline devoted to the study of cells is called cytology.

On the one hand, refers to the primordial constituent of living beings, which has the ability to reproduce independently and which is composed of a cytoplasm and a core that is protected by a membrane.


The aforementioned cytoplasm is characterized because it is located between the other two mentioned parts, the nucleus, and the membrane, because it is formed by the so-called cellular organelles (mitochondria, chloroplasts, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, lysosomes …) and because it has three fundamental functions.

In particular, these three functions are: the structural because it is not only that which gives shape to the cell but also the key to its movements; the nutritive one because it has substances that are then transformed into energy, and storage because it stores reserve substances.


The structural features of a cell are: individuality, insofar as it is separated and communicated with the outside by a kind of wall; the possession of a set of instructions that define their behavior in the genetic material that makes up the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid); and the containment of an aqueous medium called “cytosol”, in which glucose is degraded.

Currently, two differentiated cell models are recognized. On the one hand, prokaryotic cells are identified, in which DNA is included in a single chromosome that is isolated in the cytosol.

There are other accumulations of DNA in these cells that can be transmitted from one organism to another and are called plasmids. This cell model is the one that characterizes bacteria, some algae, and other primitive organisms.

The cell theory

The cells of living organisms usually have microscopic dimensions. According to the amount of cells they possess, living beings can be classified as unicellular (they have only one cell, eg: protozoa) or multicellular (has many cells, such as humans, we have hundreds of billions).

In 1839, Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann proposed the cellular theory, which states that all organisms are made up of cells and that these are derived from other precedents.

In this way, the vital functions emanate from the interaction between the cells, which even transmit the genetic information from generation to generation.

It can also be differentiated between two major cell types: prokaryotes (which do not have a differentiated cell nucleus, but their DNA is dispersed in the cytoplasm) and eukaryotes (present the genetic information in a cell nucleus).

Cell concept summary

Morphological and functional unit that makes up any living being. The cells of the human body are eukaryotic: they are formed by a nucleus, the cytoplasm and various types of organelles (mitochondria, ribosomes, etc.).

All wrapped by a cytoplasmic membrane. In the nucleus, there is the DNA that codes the genes.

The cell is an anatomical and functional unit of living beings composed of a cytoplasm and a core protected by a membrane. The word cell is of Latin origin “cellula”.

In reference to the above, can be classified for living things in: unicellular formed by a single cell such as bacteria, protozoa, among others or multicellular formed by 2 or more cells such as animals, plants, and so on.

Also, there are two major cell types: eukaryotes and prokaryotes.


It is part of the biology that studies cells and their functions. In addition, the cell is small cell, cavity or hollow as the cell of a monastery.

Also, the cell is a group that works independently within a general organization, whether political, religious, among others, for example, the people in charge were a group of people belonging to a guerrilla cell.

However, the term cell has different meaning depending on the context in which it is used.
Stem cells are cells that are located in all multicellular organisms and have the ability to divide through mitosis and generate in each division two identical cells and specialized cell lineages.

Also, photoelectric or photovoltaic cell is an electronic device that allows to convert light energy into electrical energy through the photoelectric effect.

Cell function

The cell fulfills 3 functions: nutrition, relationship, and reproduction.

The function of nutrition is the incorporation, transformation, and assimilation of food and, in this way, the cell forms its own matter.

However, autotrophic cells make their own organic matter using the chemical energy contained in inorganic matter, and heterotrophic cells make their own organic matter from the organic matter of the food they eat.

The relationship function links the living being with the environment and responds to the environment.

The reproduction function is the process of forming new cells from an initial cell or stem cell, by means of mitosis or meiosis.

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