Frequently Asked Questions on The Fundamental Unit Of Life

Who discovered cells, and how?

In 1665, Robert Hooke discovered cells while examining a thin slice of cork through a self-designed microscope. He observed that the cork resembled the structure of a honeycomb consisting of numerous tiny compartments. The miniscule boxes are referred to as cells.

Why is the cell called the structural and functional unit of life ?

Cells form the structure of an entity. A group of cells form a tissue, further an organ and ultimately an organ system. They perform fundamental functions and life processes such as respiration, digestion, excretion etc in both unicellular and multicellular entities. They perform all the activities independently. Hence, cells are referred to as structural and fundamental units of life.

Why is the plasma membrane called a selectively permeable membrane?

The plasma membrane is called a selectively permeable membrane as it permits the movement of only a certain molecule in and out of the cells. Not all molecules are free to diffuse.

Why are lysosomes known as suicide bags?

When there is damage to the cell and when revival is not possible, lysosomes may burst, and the enzymes digest their own cell. Consequently, lysosomes are known as suicide bags.

Where are proteins synthesised inside the cell?

Protein synthesis in cells takes place in ribosomes. Hence, ribosomes are also referred to as protein factories. Ribosomes are particles that are found attached to the rough endoplasmic reticulum.

What would happen if the plasma membrane ruptures or breaks down?

If plasma membrane ruptures or breaks down then molecules of some substances will freely move in and out of the cells. As the plasma membrane acts as a mechanical barrier, exchange of material from its surroundings through osmosis or diffusion in a cell won’t take place. Consequently, the cell would die due to the disappearance of the protoplasmic material.

What is osmosis?

The process of movement of a water molecule from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration through a semipermeable membrane is known as osmosis.

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