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September 21, 2021

Knowing About the Basic Unit of Life-Cell

The basic and fundamental unit of life is called the cell. It is the smallest independent component in the body. The branch of biology that deals with the study of cells and their components are called cell biology. When an organism is made up of a single cell, it is called a unicellular organism. When an organism has more than one cell in its body, then they are called multicellular organisms. Based on cellular organisation, a cell can be categorized into prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

A cell is efficiently functional because of the organelle, which is present inside a cell performing specific functions of their own. An organelle is a small structure within the cell with specific function to perform. Eukaryotic cells consist of well developed and double membraned organelles. At the same time, a prokaryotic cell lacks a true nucleus and membrane bound organelles.

Plant cell and animal cell

Eukaryotic cells include plant and animal cells. The basic difference between the plant and animal cells can be determined on the basis of presence or absence of chloroplast, strong cell wall,and centrally placed large vacuole. These are the characteristics of the plant cell. Animal cells possess a clear centrally placed nucleus, absence of cell wall, mitochondria, ribosomes and small vacuole. 

Cell organelles 

Nucleus

The nucleus forms the brain of the cell. Nucleus is a spherical organelle with a nuclear envelope around it. The nuclear envelope consists of small pores known as the nuclear pores that help in movement of molecules into and out of the cell. There is a central nucleolus inside the nucleus surrounded by chromatin fibres. The nucleus also contains rough endoplasmic reticulum which helps to produce proteins and enzymes which enable the functionality of the cell. 

Mitochondria

Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. It is able to produce and store energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). Mitochondria is an example of a double membrane system. The outer membrane and the inner membrane are separated by an intermembrane space. It has a highly complex inner membrane that has an electron transport chain that participates in ATP production.

Chloroplast

Chloroplast is the photosynthetic apparatus of the green plants. They are also double membrane systems. There are coin shaped structures in chloroplast known as thylakoid. The thylakoids are arranged one above the other to form grana. Stromal lamellae are extensions that connect  one granum to the neighboring granum. The protein rich fluid within the inner chloroplast membrane and outside of the thylakoid space is called the stroma. Similar to the mitochondrion, the chloroplast also possesses its own genetic material.

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