Wednesday, November 5, 2008

cell design 101.2

After eukaryotic cells were formed, one other variation to the cell design was added. This variation is enough to differentiate plants from animals. I am talking about the addition of the cell wall in plant cells.

If one takes a closer look at all plant and animal cells, one will discover that this, the cell wall, is one of only two major differences between these cells. The other difference is the presence of chloroplasts in plant cells. But this will be the subject of a future post. In this post, I would like to focus on the cell wall first.

Imagine that, a major difference between our own cells and those of a rose plant’s for example is simply the presence of cells walls in the rose cells. Amazing! But just this single difference is enough to give us nerve cells that reach out and muscle cells that shorten and elongate. Plant cells cannot have cells that reach out or shorten and elongate, the rigid cell wall prevents that from happening. That’s the reason why plants stay rooted and rigid in one place while we can walk, jump and do cartwheels.

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