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Cells are the building blocks of life. Animal cells contain, amongst other things, a nucleus, cytoplasm, cell membrane, mitochondria and ribosomes. The cell membrane is ‘semi-permeable’, keeping the cell contents separate from their outside environment.
Plant cells are similar in structure to animal cells, but have some extra organelles; A cell wall that helps to give the plant shape & structure. Chloroplasts, that contain chlorophyll, used to absorb light energy in photosynthesis. A large permanent vacuole that, when full, helps keep the cell rigid (turgid).
Reproductive cells, egg and sperm, are called gametes. Gametes are formed during a special type of cell division called meiosis. Body cells (except Red blood cells) all contain 46 chromosomes, 23 pairs, gamete cells only contain 23 chromosomes.
The cell membrane of almost all living organisms, is made of a lipid bilayer. The bilayer is semi-permeable, it separates the internal cell environment from its external environment. The bilayer contains transport proteins, used to move molecules in and out of the cell.
Mitochondria are small organelles, inside cells, they make energy available to the body in a process called respiration. The more active a tissue is, the more mitochondria there are in its cells. Liver and muscle cells have large numbers of mitochondria.
Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are pieces of cells found in the blood. Platelets help to stop bleeding by clumping and clotting blood vessel injuries.
James Watson and Francis Crick, first worked out the structure of DNA. DNA is a very large double stranded molecule. Each strand is made up from sugars, phosphates and organic bases. There are four different types of bases, A, T, G and C.
B-cells and T-cells are types of white blood cells. They are part of our immune system, fitting invading pathogens. B-cells are made, and mature, in the bone marrow. T-cells are made in the bone marrow but mature in the Thymus.
Macrophages are a type of white blood cell. They are a phagocyte that eats (engulfs) and digests foreign substances, microbes & cancer cells.