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CELL BIOLOGY

What is cell biology or cytology?

Cell physiology
Understanding cell physiology is a way to understand physiological abnormalities in organisms.

Cell biology is the study of the structure and functions of a cell. It revolves around the concept that cell is the basic unit of life. The focus on the cell allows a detailed understanding of the tissues and organisms that make up the cells.

Some organisms contain only one cell, while others are organized into complex groups with large numbers of cells. In general, cell biology focuses on the structure and function of the cell, from the most general characteristics common to all cells to the very unique and complex functions of specialized cells.

History of cell biology

Robert Hook’s initial observation in 1665 of plant cell walls in cork segments was followed shortly after Anthony van Leeuwenhoek’s first description of living cells with clearly moving parts.
In the 1830s, two fellow scientists – Schleiden, looking at plant cells, and Schwan, first looking at animal cells – gave the first clear definition of a cell. Their definition stated that all living things, simple and complex, are made of one or more cells, and the cell is the structural and functional unit of life – a concept that became known as cell theory.

Cell examination
Microscopy is a basic tool for morphological examination of cell

As microscopes and coloring techniques improved over the 19th and 20th centuries, scientists were able to see more internal details within cells. Microscopes used by Van Leeuwenhoek magnify specimens maybe a few hundred. Today, high-power electron microscopes can magnify samples more than a million times and can detect organelles on micrometers and below.

With confocal microscopy a series of images can be combined, allowing researchers to generate a detailed three-dimensional representation of cells. These improved imaging techniques with different types of microscopes have helped us to understand the remarkable complexity of the cells and structures they form.

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Branches of Cytology

There are several major subfields in cell biology. One is the study of cellular bioenergetics that supports cell metabolism. Because cells are machines in themselves, the focus on cell energy interferes with the follow-up of questions about how energy first originated in original primordial cells, billions of years ago.

The other subfield of cell biology relates to cell genetics and its tight association with proteins that control the release of genetic information from the nucleus to the cellular cytoplasm. Another subfield focuses on the structure of cell components, known as subcellular organelles.

Many biological disciplines include the additional subfield of cell biology, which is concerned with communication and cellular signaling and focuses on messages that cells send and receive from other cells themselves. Finally, there is a sub-domain primarily concerned with cell cycle, rotation of the stages that start and end with cell division and focusing on different periods of growth and DNA replication.

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