Friday, October 31, 2008

cell design 101

“If you were to design a cell, what would be your basic requirements or design?” This is the very first question I always ask my students about cells. Their answers always include: “nucleus, cytoplasm, cell membrane, organelles, etc.” When they answer this way, I then ask – “Is the bacterium a cell?” Of course they will answer “yes.” This answer is then perfect for my next question: “But the bacterium does not have a nucleus, so why did you list it as a basic requirement for your cell design?” I always follow this up with more questions and answers that eventually make students think really hard of what are the basic requirements of cells. This then sets the stage for my first lesson on “cell design 101” – wherein we will eventually agree that the basic requirements for cell design are simply: cell membrane, genetic material and biosynthetic machinery.

You can click on any of the links above and they will bring you to related post about these basic requirements for cell design.

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