Cells are the basic building blocks of all living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells. They provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients into energy, and carry out specialized functions. Cells also contain the body’s hereditary material and can make copies of themselves.
Do you know facts about cells that cells have many parts, each with a different function. Some of these parts, called organelles, are specialized structures that perform certain tasks within the cell.
Useful Facts About Cells
- Blood has two main kinds of cell – red cells and white cells – plus pieces of cell called platelets (see blood).
- Red cells are button-shaped and they contain mainly a red protein called haemoglobin.
- Haemoglobin is what allows red blood cells to ferry oxygen around your body.
- Red cells also contain enzymes which the body uses to make certain chemical processes happen.
- White blood cells are big cells called leucocytes and most types are involved in fighting infections.
- Most white cells contain tiny little grains and are called granulocytes.
- Most granulocytes are giant white cells called neutrophils. They are the blood’s cleaners, and their task is to eat up invaders.
- Eosinophils and basophils are granulocytes that are involved in fighting disease. Some release antibodies that help fight infection.
- Lymphocytes are also types of white cells. Each red blood cell contains more than 200 million molecules of haemoglobin.
- Cells are the basic building blocks of your body. Most are so tiny you would need 10,000 to cover a pinhead.
- There are over 200 different kinds of cell in your body, including nerve cells, skin cells, blood cells, bone cells, fat cells, muscle cells and many more.
- A cell is basically a little parcel of organic (life) chemicals with a thin membrane (casing) of protein and fat. The membrane holds the cell together, but lets nutrients in and waste out.
- Inside the cell is a liquid called cytoplasm, and floating in this are various minute structures called organelles.
- At the center of the cell is the nucleus — this is the cell’s control center and it contains the amazing molecule DNA (genes). DNA not only has all the instructions the cell needs to function, but also has the pattern for new human life.
- Each cell is a dynamic chemical factory, and the cell’s team of organelles is continually busy — ferrying chemicals to and fro, breaking up unwanted chemicals and putting together new ones.
- Do you know facts about cells that the biggest cells in the body can be nerve cells. Although the main nucleus of nerve cells is microscopic, the tails of some cells can extend for a meter or more through the body, and be seen even without a microscope.
- Among the smallest cells in the body are red blood cells. These are just 0.0075 mm across and have no nucleus since nearly their only task is ferrying oxygen.
- Most body cells live a very short time and are continually being replaced by new ones. The main exceptions are nerve cells — these are long-lived, but rarely replaced.
- Mitochondria arc the cell’s power stations, turning chemical fuel supplied by the blood as glucose into energy packs of the chemical ATP (see muscle movement)
- The endoplasmic reticulum is the cell’s main chemical factory, where proteins are built under instruction from the nucleus
- The Golgi bodies arc the cell’s dispatch center, where chemicals arc bagged up inside tiny membranes to send where they are needed. The lysosomes are the cell’s dustbins, breaking up any unwanted material
- The ribosomes are the individual chemical assembly lines, where proteins are put together from basic chemicals called amino acids (see diet)
- The nucleus is the cell’s control center, sending out instructions via a chemical called messenger RNA whenever a new chemical is needed
- Do you know facts about cells that there are 75 trillion cells in your body!
- The instructions come from the nucleus in the cell’s control center, but every kind of organelle has its own task.