Cells are the Mini Version of the Big Thing
Scientists and biology teachers make cells seem like the best kept secret on earth. That is until there is some major health problem or it’s time for a test.
Now it’s not that hard to understand once it’s broken down to a basic level. This is the basic level right here.
Cells are very small versions of very large things. A long time ago, some say around 4 billion years ago, the very first living things on earth were single cell animals. https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2018/01/31/581874421/be-humbled-our-oldest-ancestors-were-single-celled-organisms
Things on earth were not so calm and easy during that time, so the cells had to change constantly to survive. Think of it as surfing on a giant wave during a tsunami in the middle of a hurricane. Things were really rough! All cells are alive, from the ones that make the grass, mushrooms, algae and plants to the ones that make insects, animals and humans! There are not just two or three cells that make these living things around you, it’s billions and trillions of cells!
When you think of a cell, I know you just think of a round clear circle with a small dark-colored circle in the middle. A cell is way more than that! It is a mini version of a complex animal. Some cells even have feet that they use to slowly walk to their food to eat (amoeba)! https://rsscience.com/facts-about-amoeba/
Let’s start with the clear part of the cell, the cytoplasm and the cell membrane. The cytoplasm is the largest part of the cell. You can call it the cell’s body. The cell membrane is the wall around the cell. It keeps its contents inside or keeps unwanted things out, just like you have skin covering your body to keep everything inside and bad things out. There are organs inside the cytoplasm usually referred to as organelles-small organs and they function somewhat like the organs do in your body.
The nucleus is what you would call the brain of the cell. It contains the DNA and serves as the cell’s command center. The DNA is the memory of the cell and has the information needed to multiply.
The mitochondria is responsible for producing a chemical called ATP which provides energy for the cell. Cells have hundreds of mitochondria that are covered by a membrane. It also has mitochondrial DNA. Think of this as the digestive system of the cell. If you look at it under a microscope, it looks like the digestive tract in mammals.
The Golgi body is another large organelle. It stores the lysosomes which digest and recycle toxins and waste. They contain proteins that break down amino acids, carbohydrates and phospholipids. Whenever the cell dies, it self-destructs using its lysosomes.
The vacuole is the sanitation and water storage of the cell. It is the organelle that excretes the waste and stores the needed water for the cell. The large intestine has the same function in mammals.
Ribosomes function similar to the nucleus. They assist with translating the RNA, which comes from the DNA, into protein by sticking amino acids together. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320878#division
If you were a plant, then you would have this organelle-a chloroplast! The chloroplast allows the energy from the sun to produce food for the plant. That is why plants are green and you are not! Plant cells also have cell walls that keep all the organelles and water in and keep unwanted things out.
Now you should have an idea of what a cell is and how it is a miniature version of every living creature. You know the parts of the cell and how they function and you shouldn’t have a headache from learning about it. Our bodies replace 33 billions of cells everyday. You have a complete replacement in 80-100 days. Do you realize that there is a new you every 2 ½ to a little over 3 months?
It’s time to celebrate the new you! With a little practice, you should be ready for bigger things now.