The Cell Functions And Actions Guide

A cell is the primary building block of life and cells functions are required for everything that happens inside a human’s body. While an organism may consist of only one cell, such as bacteria, a human body is thought to contain over 100 trillion cells. The function of cells is determined by the genetic code that is present in each and every cell. All human cells are classified as being eukaryotic and are the same type as cells found in any organism that consists of more than one cell.

Perhaps the most important function of cells is metabolism. While plant cells are able to convert the energy from the sun into energy that they can use, human cells must have external nutrients to provide energy to the body. Cells are capable of breaking down sugars and other molecules to provide the necessary energy to keep a body alive. This process of metabolism allows all the other normal functions that a cell must complete. By breaking down down the specific molecules, cells create ATP, or Adenosine Triphosphate. Using energetic bonds, this substance is how cells transport energy to other cells within a person’s body. The energy is then used by organs in the production of hormones and by the brain to control these organs.

If cellular metabolism is the cell function that is most important, then the second most important function is reproduction. This is the process by which cells promote the synthesis of life. There are two methods of reproduction: mitosis and meiosis. For generation of new cells within a body, mitosis is performed by somatic cells. Meiosis only occurs in reproductive cells. These cells have a slightly different genetic code than the cells that created them and they are used to propagate the advancement of a species through sexual reproduction. Without the ability to create these types of cells, the human population would simply die out as no reproduction would occur. In this sense, the cell function of reproduction may be seen as even more important than cellular metabolism.

The last cell and function concern is the transport of molecules throughout the body. This is the important process by which blood is circulated and oxygen reaches the various organs in the body. There are two types of molecular transport: active and passive transport. In the first, active transport, the cells are able to move macromolecules, such as proteins, to their destination. The second, passive transport, occurs when the cells are able to absorb molecules by allowing them to cross the cellular membrane.

The relationship between cell and function is absolutely necessary for the successful maintenance of life. As cells can take different forms, like skin cells, white blood cells, and brain cells, the individual functions can differ greatly, but they are all important in making sure the body continues to work. There are a limitless number of cells functions and it will be many years before the complete relationship between each type of cell and overall human health is understood.

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    April 2014
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