Animal and Plant Cells

Cells are the basic building blocks of life, and without them, living things would not exist. Millions and billions of cells are joined together to make all living things, both plants and animals. Nearly all cells are very, very tiny and cannot be seen without using a powerful microscope. Cells have different shapes, colors, designs, and functions.

In addition, every part of every cell has its own function. The three basic parts of all cells are the nucleus, cytoplasm, and a cell membrane. However, plant and animal cells are not the same and have some additional parts.

All cells with a nucleus are called eukaryotes and have many structures and functions in common. Eukaryotes are quite the same in many ways besides containing the three main parts. All the structures within a cell such as a nucleus and other parts are called organelles.

However, cells do become specialized depending on their function. For example, bone cells, liver cells, and nerve cells all develop in ways that enable them to perform their specific duties. Plants cells too may vary during early stages of growth, but all contain the same structures.

Plant and animal cells have more common parts than parts that are different. Each of the parts has a special function, but the shape, size, and location of the cell parts may vary. Common parts include the nucleus, which is a sphere-shaped body surrounded by a membrane and contains mostly DNA in chromosomes (genetic information). It also controls many functions of the cell and might be called the command center. It regulates various processes in the cell and is in the center of animal cells but on the edge of plant cells.

Next common part is cytoplasm, a jelly-like fluid which fills the cell in which the organelles are suspended. It is located outside the cell nucleus and where most chemical processes take place. The cytoplasm is controlled by enzymes.

The third most common basic part is the cell membrane, which is a thin layer of protein and fat surrounding the cell. The cell membrane controls the movement of substances into and out of the cell, as some substances are permitted to pass through, while others are blocked. Other common parts of plant and animal cells include mitochondria, ribosomes, and vacuoles.

Plant cells have two functions which are not required of animal cells. One of them is photosynthesis, a process plants use to produce their own food. The second function of cells is supporting its own weight, which most animals do by means of a skeleton. A cell wall is found only in plant cells and it includes a layer of cellulose fiber for its support and structure. It is found on the outside of the membrane and strengthens the cell, works in combination with the plant vacuole, and helps the cell maintain its shape and rigidity.

Chloroplasts are found only in plant cells which contain chlorophyll giving a plant its green color. It is the location for the process of photosynthesis where energy from the sun is converted into energy. It is one of several other plastids used to convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into food.

Finally, centrioles are found only in animal cells and help move chromosomes during cell division and are only visible when the animal cell is dividing. They also ensure that chromosomes are in the proper location during cell division

Besides some different parts, a plant cell is usually larger and rectangular or squarish in shape. On the other hand, most animal cells are roundish or irregular in shape. Scientists believe that an early point in the evolution of life on Earth, plants, and animals once shared a common ancestor. It is the reason plants and animal cells are so much alike, meaning all life on Earth is related.

A: Cell wall
B: Nucleus
C: Cell membrane
D: Cytoplasm

A: Cytoplasm
B: Cell wall
C: Nucleus
D: Vacuoles

A: Cell membrane
B: Centriole
C: Organelles
D: Cell wall

A: Cell membrane
B: Centriole
C: Organelles
D: Cell wall

A: Cytoplasm
B: Chlorophyll
C: Plastids
D: Chromosomes

A: Chromosomes
B: Chloroplasts
C: Chlorophyll
D: Cell wall

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