Before we embark upon our journey towards unveiling sundry interesting facts about animal cells, let's learn a few details about cells in general. Broadly, cells can be classified under two categories - prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells.
A prokaryotic cell lacks a nucleus, cell membrane and the DNA structure of a prokaryotic cell is not organized in chromosomal order. Eukaryotic cells, on the other hand, are equipped with a nucleus each and all cellular matter including the DNA are contained within cell membranes. The DNA is also organized into chromosomes.
All bacteria - both eubacteria and archaebacteria - are prokaryotes. Every other living organism, in the animal kingdom as well as the plant kingdom, are eukaryotic, meaning they have a cellular structure that consists of cell membrane and nuclear material. Let's move on to more such information about animal cells.
- Animal cells are nano chemical factories that are completely self-sufficient! The cells themselves manufacture everything that constitutes them. For instance, the cell membrane is produced by an organelle located near the nucleus, known as the Golgi complex.
- This same organelle also combines proteins, lipids and carbohydrates in a kind of membrane-packed bubble that is then ejected from the cell to be used elsewhere in the body. This is a very important part of macronutrient synthesizing function of cells.
- Ribosomal RNA, which creates protein from amino acids, which are among the primary building blocks of life, is produced by nucleolus, an organelle contained inside the nucleus.
- The size of a single, random animal cell can fall anywhere between 1 and 100 micrometers. To put it in other words, no matter how large or small different types of animal cells are with relation to each other, they are still too small to be visible to the naked eyes.
- Unlike prokaryotic which reproduce via binary fission, eukaryotic or animal cells reproduce either via the process of mitosis or sexually. The latter takes place when gametes of opposite sexual characteristics fuse together. After all, sperms and ova are nothing but gametes or sex cells! This is how new organisms are conceived and born.
- Tissues are formed when cells of similar structures, composition and characteristics bundle together.
- Animal cells have an inbuilt self-destruct system which is resorted to when a cell becomes damaged beyond repair or gets severely infected. This cellular suicide is known as apoptosis and when this phenomenon fails to take place, the condition that surfaces is what we know as cancer, where new cells are produced but the older, damaged ones do not die out to make place for them!
- Contrary to widespread belief, the nucleus of a cell is rarely in the center of the cell! It can be anywhere in the cell but the very epicenter of it, which is mostly the case!
- A single animal cell has the complete blueprint of all the information that is needed to create a complete organism from it! The genetic matter in the cells is nothing but encrypted information about the biology, psychology, characteristics and personality of the complete organism!
- The mitochondria contained inside animal cells convert oxygen and other nutrients into energy. This is, thus, the powerhouse that keeps the entire cell up and running!
- The nucleus is the brain of the cell which stores all genetic information in the form of DNA and it controls and regulates all other cellular functions including growth, metabolism, reproduction, apoptosis, protein synthesis, etc.
- The plasma membrane that contains all cellular matter inside it is like a semipermeable wall that allows for molecular exchange through it.
- Most single-celled eukaryotic organisms such as paramecium have external thread and tube-like structures all over them to help in locomotion.
- The cytoplasm contains a kind of biological scaffolding material, known as cytoskeleton, which is composed of proteins and which helps cells to maintain their shape.
- Although tiny themselves, cells are not the tiniest particles on earth! Each cell is made up of a number of even tinier particles known as atoms!
Loved it? I'm sure you did! Also, I hope you will leave this page with more knowledge regarding animal cells than what you came here with! As for me, I myself learned a lot while writing this article and I intend to continue my study of animal cells even after I've concluded this article!