Medical research

Scientists have identified a bone marrow backup system

New research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research has identified the backup for an important biological system—the hematopoietic system, whose adult stem cells constantly replenish the body's blood supply.

Immunology

Fever alters immune cells so they can better reach infections

Fever is known to help power up our immune cells, and scientists in Shanghai have new evidence explaining how. They found in mice that fever alters surface proteins on immune cells like lymphocytes to make them better able ...

Immunology

Life-threatening lung disease averted in experimental models

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal condition that leaves lung tissue permanently scarred and leads to the decline and eventual failure of the respiratory system. For those diagnosed with the disease, treatment ...

Cancer

Breast cancer cells in mice tricked into turning into fat cells

As cancer cells respond to cues in their microenvironment, they can enter a highly plastic state in which they are susceptible to transdifferentiation into a different type of cell. Researchers at the University of Basel ...

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Cell (biology)

The cell is the structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of an organism that is classified as living, and is often called the building block of life. Some organisms, such as most bacteria, are unicellular (consist of a single cell). Other organisms, such as humans, are multicellular. (Humans have an estimated 100 trillion or 1014 cells; a typical cell size is 10 µm; a typical cell mass is 1 nanogram.) The largest known cell is an unfertilized ostrich egg cell.

In 1835 before the final cell theory was developed, a Czech Jan Evangelista Purkyně observed small "granules" while looking at the plant tissue through a microscope. The cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, states that all organisms are composed of one or more cells. All cells come from preexisting cells. Vital functions of an organism occur within cells, and all cells contain the hereditary information necessary for regulating cell functions and for transmitting information to the next generation of cells.

The word cell comes from the Latin cellula, meaning, a small room. The descriptive name for the smallest living biological structure was chosen by Robert Hooke in a book he published in 1665 when he compared the cork cells he saw through his microscope to the small rooms monks lived in.

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