The Cell: A Very Short Introduction
All living things on Earth are composed of cells. A cell is the simplest unit of a self-contained living organism, and the vast majority of life on Earth consists of single-celled microbes, mostly bacteria. These consist of a simple 'prokaryotic' cell, with no nucleus. The bodies of more complex plants and animals consist of billions of 'eukaryotic' cells, of varying kinds, adapted to fill different roles - red blood cells, muscle cells, branched neurons. Each cell is an astonishingly complex chemical factory, the activities of which we have only begun to unravel in the past fifty years or so through modern techniques of microscopy, biochemistry, and molecular biology. In this Very Short Introduction, Terence Allen and Graham Cowling describe the nature of cells - their basic structure, their varying forms, their division, their differentiation from initially highly flexible stem cells, their signalling, and programmed death. Cells are the basic constituent of life, and understanding cells and how they work is central to all biology and medicine. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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actin activity adult stem cells allowing amino acids animal cells apoptosis attachment bacteria biochemical biology blood cells blood stem cells body bone marrow brain cancer cell death cell division cell lines cell membrane cell types cellular changes Chapter chemical chloroplasts chromatin chromosomes cilia complex components culture cytoplasm cytoskeleton damage daughter cells Dendrocometes differentiation disease divide drug embryo energy enzymes eukaryotic eukaryotic cells fibroblast Figure flagella fluorescent function genes genetic genome human immune individual infection interactions intermediate filaments interphase keratin large numbers layer levels lipid living cells mechanisms mice microfilaments microtubules million mitochondria molecular mouse multicellular muscle mutations nanometres neurons niche normal nuclear contents nuclear envelope nuclear lamina Nuclear pores nucleolus nucleotide nucleus organelles organism plant cells produce progenitor prokaryotes proteins called replication result ribosomes sequence signals single cell specific sperm strand structure surface synthesis therapy transplantation tumour vacuoles