Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

On average, how many cells divide each day in a human being? How long does a cell wait before dividing itself ?

I have tried to look on the internet but surprisingly the answer is difficult to find..

share|improve this question
Thats pretty hard to answer, since the proliferation rate of cells is pretty different. For example heart cells hardly ever divide while cells of the hematopietic systems do this pretty often. – Chris Feb 21 '14 at 14:22
up vote 7 down vote accepted

My first thought was this:

According to Wikipedia (citation provided)

Between 50 and 70 billion cells die each day due to apoptosis in the average human adult. For an average child between the ages of 8 and 14, approximately 20 billion to 30 billion cells die a day.

For every cell that dies a new one must be born, so there must be at least between 50 and 70 billion cell divisions to replenish these cells in an adult human (no net growth).

But then I remembered erythrocytes. Wikipedia again:

Adult humans have roughly 2–3 × 1013 (20–30 trillion) red blood cells at any given time, comprising approximately one quarter of the total human body cell number


these cells live in blood circulation for about 100 to 120 days

So approximately 1% of erythrocytes are destroyed every day and must be replaced. That's 2-3 x 1011 cells formed every day, which dwarfs the cells replenished due to apoptosis (5 - 7 x 109).

Through this process [erythropoiesis] erythrocytes are continuously produced in the red bone marrow of large bones, at a rate of about 2 million per second in a healthy adult.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.