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Cells

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Where in the world?


How does a cell resemble a city?

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What is a cell?
A cell is the basic unit of life, from which larger structures
such as tissue and organs are made.
Unicellular organisms,
such as bacteria, consist of
just a single cell.
Multicellular organisms
consist of many cells
humans are made from an
estimated 50 trillion cells!

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How big is a cell?


Most plant and animal cells are between 10 m and
100 m in size around the diameter of a human hair
and too small to see without a microscope.
The largest cell in the human
body is the female egg cell,
(ovum) at around 100 m
in diameter.
The smallest human cell is
the sperm cell the head is
around 5 m long.

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Comparing micro-organisms

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Microscopes
Thanks to advances in microscope technology, we can
see micro-organisms with far greater detail and clarity
than was possible in the past.

magnification =

size of image
actual size of the object

When Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered single-celled


organisms in 1676, his microscope could magnify an
image up to 500 times. Now, with the use of electron
microscopes, scientists can attain a magnification as high
as 2106.

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Specialized cells
Most plants and animals are multicellular. The human
body is made up of around 200 different types of cell,
all working together.
Most cells are specialized, meaning
that each type of cell has a specific
structure and function.
All cells with a nucleus contain the
same genes, but different cells
activate different genes so they only
produce the proteins they need.
However, all cells have certain
common features and structures
called organelles.
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What do cells contain?

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Animal or plant?

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Microbial cells

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Bacteria
Unlike other cells, bacteria have no distinct nucleus.
Instead, their genetic material is contained within a coiled
cluster of chromosomal DNA and a single circular strand
of plasmid DNA.
Plasmid DNA can reproduce
independently of chromosomal DNA,
and can be transferred to other cells.
Bacteria also lack mitochondria
and chloroplasts. Some bacteria
have one or more flagella, which
are used for locomotion.
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A closer look at animal cells

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Exploring animal cells

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How are animal cells adapted?

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Animal cells: fit for a purpose

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A closer look at plant cells

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Exploring plant cells

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How are plant cells adapted?

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Plant cells: fit for a purpose

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What is a cell wall?


All plant cells have a cell wall
a rigid layer that surrounds the
cell membrane.
The plant cell wall is made
from cellulose, a
carbohydrate polymer. The
purpose of the cell wall is to:
maintain the shape and structure of the cell
protect the cells contents from pathogens
prevent damage to the cell caused by excess water intake.
Unlike the cell membrane, the cell wall is freely
permeable to water and other molecules.
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What is a vacuole?
The vacuole is a fluidfilled
sac found within plant cells
and some bacteria.
The vacuole has a range of
functions, including:
storing waste products
maintaining the water and pH balance of the cell
maintaining the shape of the cell.
The size of vacuoles depend on how much water the plant
has absorbed.
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What are chloroplasts?


Chloroplasts are the site of photosynthesis
in plant cells.

A green pigment in chloroplasts


called chlorophyll absorbs the
energy in sunlight.

This energy is used to


convert carbon dioxide
and water into glucose
and oxygen.
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Which organelle?

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Make a cell model


You can make your own 3-D cell
using the following items:
a plastic bag
clear gelatin
small objects to suspend in
the cellulose paste (these
will represent the internal
structures of the cell).
Can you make a model of a
typical plant or animal cell?

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Glossary

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Anagrams

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Multiple-choice quiz

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