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Chapter: 11th Botany : Chapter 7 : Cell Cycle

History of a Cell

As studied earlier, the nucleus is the organising centre of the cell.

Cell Cycle

One of the most important features of the living cells is their power to grow and divide. New cells are formed by the division of pre -existing cells. Cells increase in number by cell division. The parent cell divides and passes on genetic material to the daughter cells.


Neurons can be replaced! Stem cells in the human brain : - most neurons are in G0 and do not divide. As neurons and neuroglia die or injured they are replaced by neural stem cells


Edouard Van Beneden, a Belgian cytologist, embryologist and marine biologist. He was Professor of Zoology at the University of Liège. He contributed to cytogenetics by his works on the roundworm Ascaris. In his work he discovered how chromosomes organized meiosis (the production of gametes).



History of a Cell

1. The Role of the Nucleus


As studied earlier, the nucleus is the organising centre of the cell. The information in the nucleus is contained within structures called chromosomes. These uniquely:


·           Control activities of the cell.

·           Genetic information copied from cell to cell while the cell divides.

·           Hereditary characters are passed on to new individuals when gametic cells fuse together in sexual reproduction.


2. Chromosomes


At the time when a nucleus divides, the chromosomes become compact and multicoiled structure. Only in this condensed state do the chromosomes become clearly visible in cells. All other times, the chromosomes are very long, thin, uncoiled threads. In this condition they give the stained nucleus the granular appearance. The granules are called chromatin.


The four important features of the chromosome are:


·           The shape of the chromosome is specific: The long, thin, lengthy structured chromosome contains a short, constricted region called centromere. A centromere may occur anywhere along the chromosome, but it is always in the same position on any given chromosome.


·           The number of chromosomes per species is fixed: for example the mouse has 40 chromosomes, the onion has 16 and humans have 46.

·           Chromosomes occur in pairs: The chromosomes of a cell occur in pairs, called homologous pairs. One of each pair come originally from each parent. Example, human has 46 chromosomes, 23 coming originally from each parent in the process of sexual reproduction.


·           Chromosomes are copied: Between nuclear divisions, whilst the chromosomes are uncoiled and cannot be seen, each chromosome is copied. The two identical structures formed are called chromatids.


3. Nuclear Divisions

There are two types of nuclear division, as mitosis and meiosis. In mitosis, the daughter cells formed will have the same number of chromosomes as the parent cell, typically diploid (2n) state. Mitosis is the nuclear division that occurs when cells grow or when cells need to be replaced and when organism reproduces asexually.


In meiosis, the daughter cells contain half the number of chromosomes of the parent cell and is known as haploid state (n).


Whichever division takes place, it is normally followed by division of the cytoplasm to form separate cells, called as cytokinesis.


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11th Botany : Chapter 7 : Cell Cycle : History of a Cell |

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