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Chirag Jeebodh

Mr. Len de Beer

20 November 2014

Is the cell more like a city or a

The word cell derived its name from the
Latin word cella, which means small room. The
cell is the smallest part of life and basic building
block to all living organisms. The parts inside a
cell are called organelles, which are needed for
the cell to function. They all perform different
tasks that work toward making the cell what it is.
The human body is comprised of over 12 trillion
cells and each of them preforming the same job as
the other. Each cell has a piece of genetic
information that gives the rest of cell the
instructions to create any living organism. There
are two types of cells, eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Eukaryotes contain a nucleus and
can be single celled or part of a multicellular organism. While prokaryotes do not
contain a nucleus and are typically single celled.
A cell can pretty much be compared to a city or a machine, as they do have the parts
in the cell that function similar to those of a machine or a city. It is said, a cell is like
a city, but why do people say this? It can also be said that a cell is more like a
machine rather than a city. What are the aspects that make a person conclude this?
Well there must be reasons as to why this is said.

Compare to a City
A city is an extremely large place where everything functions to perform the
duty of making a city what it is. It is made up of office blocks, hotels, shopping
centers, factories, airports, harbors, disposal sites, roads etc. All of these elements
work together to perform a proper working city. If one the parts of the city stopped
functioning then the city wouldnt be able to work properly and this would cause
many other problems. This is why people say, the cell is like a city. A cell has
parts known as organelles that work together to keep a cell functioning. If an
organelle were to stop working then the cell wouldnt be able to function, as the cell
needs every part to work. A city and a cell work
accordingly to a certain sequence, which allows them
to function as a city or a cell.
The majority of the genetic material of a cell is stored
in the nucleus. Its where the DNA is kept and RNA is
copied. The nucleus functions as the brain of a cell and
controls everything that happens within the cell. The

Chirag Jeebodh
Mr. Len de Beer
20 November 2014
nucleus uses the DNA as a blueprint. The city hall is an analogy of the nucleus. The
city hall is the control center for the city and controls what happens around the city.
The nucleus and city hall are both similar to each other as they are the control centers
of their realms. The nucleus also contains a nuclear membrane, which is similar to the
fence with a security guard surrounding the city hall.
The mitochondrion is the organelle that produces most of the cells energy
known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is the
main energy source of the cell. The mitochondria
have a double membrane: outer membrane and an
inner membrane. The inner membrane has a shelf-like
structure, which is known as the cristae. The cristae
comprises of fundamental particles, which represent
an important enzyme present in the production of
ATP. The mitochondrion is often characterized as the
power plant of the cell as their main job is to
produce energy. The mitochondrion is similar to a power plant of a city. The power
plant makes energy for the city and the mitochondria makes energy needed for the
The interior and exterior layer of a cell is
separated by the cell membrane. The cell
membrane has the ability to control the entrance
and exit of substances. Due to this, it helps the
cell to maintain an internal balance. As the cell
has a membrane, it is protected from any of the
outside forces. The membrane is akin to a city
border. The city border controls who goes in and
out of the country and the membrane controls
what goes in or out of the cell.
The cytoplasm is located between the cell
membrane and the nuclear envelope. It contains
microtubules and is made up of a jelly like fluid.
The gel like fluids are stored in the cytoplasm so
other cell organelles can use them. The proteins in
the cytoplasm signified as the cytoskeleton support
the shape of the cell. The cytoplasm is similar to the
grass on the lawn. Grass is found throughout the
city and protects what is underneath it just like how
the cytoplasm is found throughout the cell and
protects the internal organelles.
There are two forms of the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER), such as the
Smooth ER and the Rough ER. The surface of the rough ER is covered with
ribosomes, the cells protein making mechanism. The endoplasmic reticulum is the
transportation system for the molecules needed to reach various places of the cell or to
undergo certain changes. The highway is an analogy for the ER. The highway is our

Chirag Jeebodh
Mr. Len de Beer
20 November 2014
path of transportation and is what we use to reach our destinations. In the cell the ER
is used as a highway for molecules to reach parts of the cell.
RNA is translated into protein in the
ribosome, this is known as protein synthesis.
As this process is important to the cell, there
are many ribosomes found in the cell.
Ribosomes drift freely around freely in the
cytoplasm and also stick to the surface of the
rough ER. The ribosome is similar to a car
wash. The car goes through the car wash and come out clean with no dirt. Just like
how the RNA goes through the ribosome and turns into a protein. They are similar as
they change as they go through something.
The Golgi bodies modify and distribute the molecules into small membrane
comprised sacs called vesicles. The Golgi
apparatus parcels the molecules that are
administered by the endoplasmic reticulum
ready to be transported throughout the cell.
The Golgi job in the cell is basically a
packaging plant. The post office is very much
similar to the Golgi apparatus. Just like how
the post office packages and distributes things,
the Golgi does the same with the molecules.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the most important component to your
existence. Without DNA you or any other object would not be here right now. DNA is
stored in the nucleus of the cell and is made up of four chemical building blocks such
as Guanine (G), Thymine (T), Cytosine (C), and Adenine (A). Basically DNA
consists of commands needed for
making all living things. The
building blocks GTCA connect with
each other to form the double helix
assembly. This enables the genetic
information to be copied and the
ability to be passed down from
generation to generation. The DNA
is a crucial part to our existence and
so is a blueprint. We need blueprints
so we always have the original copy with us and have it as a reference later on when
we need it. The DNA is just the same; it provides the cell with information in order to
create all living things. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an acid present in the cell and its
primary function is to make copies of the DNA and to act as a messenger. The RNA
photocopies the DNA and sends the data from the nucleus to the ribosomes. In a city
the RNA would be similar to photocopies of a document, plans etc.
The lysosomes functions as the recycling center of the cell. They are vesicles that
break off from the Golgi apparatus. They break off in different sizes and function

Chirag Jeebodh
Mr. Len de Beer
20 November 2014
differently according to the type of cell. Inside the
lysosome there are enzymes that help with the breaking
down of nutrients in the cell. During this process any
cellular trash or raiding microorganisms are broken
down. The digestive bags that breakdown down the
macromolecules use a process known as hydrolysis.
They lysosome can be compared to a waste disposal or
recycling company. Like the waste disposal and recycling company the lysosome
helps to break down any unwanted macromolecules in the cell.
The centriole is a cylindrical organelle
located near the nucleus. They help in the
division of the cell and the organization of the
chromosomes. The microtubules also play a
role in cell division and serves as a temporary
support for other organelles.

Compared to a Machine
A machine is something that has several parts and each having a definite function. As
all these parts work together they perform a certain task to make our lives easier. The
cell is a complex cell and so are machines. Therefore I have chosen to compare the
cell to a complex machine such as a car, BMW
X6. A car is a complex machine that has been
created to make our lives easier in terms of
transportation. In order for a car to do its job,
there are many other parts in the car that needs
to function properly and carry out its job in order
for the car work.
The cell membrane is around the cell as it is used to protect the cell. The
membrane controls what goes in and out of the cell. The cell membrane functions as a
barrier. What would a car be like if it did not have a frame? It would pretty much be
an ugly and unprotected model that people wouldnt really be so happy about using.
So the membrane of a cell is similar to the frame of a car as they both protect the
interior of their machines.

Chirag Jeebodh
Mr. Len de Beer
20 November 2014
If a car did not have a
driver to control it, it would be a
useless machine. There has to be
something controlling everything
that performs a certain task. A car
would not perform it task without
somebody controlling it, as it is
what controls the car in order for it to perform what its meant for. The control center
in a cell is the nucleus. The nucleus controls whatever happens in the cell in order for
the cell to do its job.
The cytoplasm fills the rest of the cell
and helps as the support structure of the cell.
The gel like fluids are in the cytoplasm so other
organelles can use them. Similarly the interior
of a car is like the cytoplasm as it contains
parts that the passengers need to use in order
for the car to perform its task. These parts have
certain tasks that work toward making the car
function and giving it support.
If a car did not have fuel then it wouldnt be able to do its desired task of
transporting people. Fuel is a crucial part in the car as it is a source of energy. The
ribosome however produces proteins, which is extremely important to the cell
otherwise there wouldnt be any cells. The proteins act as a source of energy for the
In order for the parts of a car to function, they need to be connected to each
other. Well in a car the way the parts are connected to each other is with wires and
tubes. The wires and tubes transport the necessary things needed for the parts of the
car to function. The endoplasmic reticulum is similar to the tubes and wires of a car.
The ER is used as a transportation system. It transports the ribosomes and prepares
cargo for the cell.
The mitochondrion is what powers the cell. The cell gets most of its energy
from the mitochondria as they break down the
nutrients. The mitochondria are known as
powerhouses in the cell. This is an analogy of the
engine in a car. Just like how the mitochondria
power the cell, the engine powers the car. They
both are alike as they provide energy for their
machine. So practically if the cell did not have a
mitochondrion then it would not be able to
function as an essential machine and perform the desired task as the car would do the
same without an engine.
What would happen if there werent a transmission in the car? It certainly
wouldnt be able to work properly as the power would not be distributed to where it

Chirag Jeebodh
Mr. Len de Beer
20 November 2014
needs to be allocated. The Golgi apparatus works just the same compare to the
transmission. The Golgi packages molecules made by the endoplasmic reticulum and
distribute them throughout the cell.
The lysosomes are very much similar to the
exhaust system in a car. The lysosome gets rid of the
unwanted waste and break down the nutrients within
the cell. It acts as a disposal system therefore getting
rid of whatever is not needed in the cell. The same
applies for the exhaust system in the car; it basically
gets rid of any unwanted gas in the car. If these
elements werent present in the two machines, it
would get overcrowded and not be able to perform the
certain functions.
In conclusion I think a cell can be compared more likely to a city rather than a
machine. Through all the research I conducted, I discovered that the cell fits and
functions more like a city. The cell is like a city in many ways, based on its structure
to they way it functions. All the parts of the cell fits best in a city analogy, its not so
hard to compare the cell and the city. Nonetheless when comparing the cell to a
machine, it is much harder. When I was doing the research I found it difficult to fit the
organelles with the parts of the machine. Some organelles didnt fit into the machine
therefore making it a bit difficult. Overall I think that the cell can be compared more
likely to a city than to a machine.

Chirag Jeebodh
Mr. Len de Beer
20 November 2014

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Chirag Jeebodh
Mr. Len de Beer
20 November 2014

Teachertech.rice.edu, (2014). Cell Parts Definitions. [online]

Available at:
[Accessed 21 Nov. 2014].
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