The Cell

Hello, and thank you for reading my first essay for the RPC Biology course!  I’m going to be sharing some of the things I’ve learned about the smallest and most basic unit of life–the cell.

I learned many things about cells from my RPC course lecture, but one thing I found very important and awesome about cells is there differences and similarities.  They may look different, have other functions or jobs, but they are all classified under the same name — a cell.

So, to illustrate my point, I gathered diagrams of three different types of cells.  I found and marked places on these cell diagrams so that you can see their distinct and unique differences, and their similarities with other cells.


This is a plant cell.  It kind of looks like a little green LEGO block!  It is a eukaryotic cell (pronounced: YOO-kari-yotik) and that means that it has a nucleus and is truly alive.  The nucleus regulates cell growth, coordination and stores DNA inside itself.  This DNA is a program, outlining its job as a plant cell.  It is also a multi-cellular organism.  This means that a plant cell can combine with thousands of other plant cells and create a larger organism!  You are a eukaryote, because you are made up out of millions of skin, bone,  brain, and other types, of cells.

Plant Cell.jpg

This is a brain cell.  You may know it by another name — a neuron.   It also is a eukaryotic cell.  This cell’s job is to receive and transmit electro-chemical signals through-out the nervous system!  One unique thing about eukaryotic cells is that they have an organelle called mitochondrion.  These organelles create a molecule called adenosine triphosphate or ATP for short.  This molecule is what your body uses to move your muscles.  There is a big release of energy when the ATP molecule is broken down through a process called hydrolosis, and this is where you get the power to move your muscles.  Can you believe that your body and muscles break down thousands of ATP molecules everyday just to keep moving?  It is hard sometimes to imagine that little chemical reactions and changes occur all over our bodies without our knowing or understanding!

Brain Cell.jpg


This diagram below, however, is not of a eukaryotic cell.  This is a prokariyotic cell.  People know them more commonly as bacteria!  I didn’t know that bacteria was a cell!  It is a single-cellular organism, which means that other bacterias cannot link together to create a larger organism.

But, there is one major difference between a eukaryotic and prokaryotic that separates them — a bacteria doesn’t have a nucleus!   This means that, even though prokaryotes share some of the same things, like DNA, with eukaryotic cells, these cells aren’t truly alive.

One other thing that I found out about cells was that all of them are very different shapes and sizes.  Compare the brain cell diagram to this bacteria picture below — they are super different looking from each other!  No one kind of cell looks the same.  These shapes and sizes are important to the function of the cell and they were designed specifically this way for a reason.


Prokaryotes are very different from eukaryotes, but they do share some common parts — ribosomes and a cytoplasm.  These items are shared by both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, as you can see in the diagrams above!


There are things about these two cell types that is different and similar and I only shared some of those things.  So, here is a table I created showcasing the facts about cells that I shared with you.

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 8.45.58 PM.png

Cells are very complicated and amazing even for being the smallest living organism on the planet Earth.  The diversity among cells, whether it be shape, size, color, function is what makes them so unique from others organisms.  But, at the same, time there are many things that are the same about them and almost no differences!   So, I’ve come up with this little phrase that describes the similarities and differences of cells perfectly — cells couldn’t be more different without being completely the same!

Quinn Palmer

RPC Student and a eukaryotic organism!



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