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Questions tagged [cell-biology]

The study of cells, their physiological properties, structure, environmental interaction, division, life cycle, and death, as well as the organelles they contain. Also known as cytology.

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Why is saltatory conduction in myelinated axons faster than continuous conduction in unmyelinated axons?

How does spacing apart sodium and potassium channels allow the action potential to travel faster down the axon? This is the reason always cited for saltatory conduction and myelination, but my mental ...
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Does a man contain all the genes needed to make a woman?

This question is brought on by a Sci Fi novel I am thinking about writing. The plot device involves a colonist in charge of building a population on a new planet who loses his supply of embryos and so ...
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3answers
47k views

Why is ATP the preferred choice for energy carriers?

Why is ATP the most prevalent form of chemical energy storage and utilization in most cells?
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Can you consider a human as alive, or is it the cells on the body that are alive?

Sorry if this question seems strange, but in the recent time I have been interested in the question of what life is and how you can define life. My question: How long can individual cells live on a ...
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7answers
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Why would a single celled organism evolve to be multi-celled?

I read a story this week on Richard Lenski who has been 'evolving' E. coli for more than 50,000 generations now. One comment I read was from someone who doesn't accept Evolution who pointed out that ...
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1answer
46k views

Chromosome and chromatid numbers during cell cycle phases

A diploid cell in G1 has 6 chromosomes. How many chromosomes and how many chromatids are present in each of the following stages? Here is what I am guessing G1: 6 chromosomes ; 6 chromatids G2: 6 ...
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which exact mechanism triggers the first cell differentiation after n divisions?

I would like to understand which mechanism triggers the first cell differentiation after n divisions. I read previous articles on SE and Wikipedia articles on cellular differentiation and ...
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2answers
3k views

Cell life: division for immortality or reproduction with aging

Are the two cells that are derived from one cell, ‘twin sisters’ or a ‘mother and a daughter’? In other words, can a cell really be divided to live an "immortal" life or is cell reproduction the ...
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717 views

Are there any multicellular forms of life which exist without consuming other forms of life in some manner?

The title is the question. If additional specificity is needed I will add clarification here. Are there any multicellular forms of life which exist without requiring the consumption (destruction) of ...
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4answers
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Why do cell membranes have a lipid bilayer instead of a monolayer?

Many cells have a cell membrane composed of two layers of lipids. Why is it that they have two layers and not just one? What purpose do this arrangement serve?
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1answer
364 views

Number of genes required to sustain life

Are there estimates of the minimum number of genes required to sustain life? In what I mean by life here, I don't include viruses.
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1answer
122 views

Domains in cell membrane

How is movement of proteins and lipids between different domains of cell membrane prevented? Why is the noncytosolic layer not able to do lateral movements between domains but cytosolic layer is able ...
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Is there an advantage to linear chromosomes?

The DNA copying enzymes have a hard time working to the end of a chromosome. For circular chromosomes this is not a problem, since there is not a sharp 'end'. However, for a linear chromosome, without ...
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2answers
503 views

A photosynthesizing mouse?

N. Shubin's Your Inner Fish makes the point several times that there is a lot of functional similarity between some seemingly remote gene cousins. If that needed reinforcing we have the spider-goat, ...
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2answers
8k views

Why do tattoos persist if body cells are regularly renewed?

I am not quite sure if it is true, but I read somewhere that within 7 years all the body's cells are replaced with new ones. I am not quite sure if it is cells or atoms. If it is then why do tattoos ...
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1answer
2k views

What is itching?

What exactly at the molecular level is itching? What physiological function does itching serve, if any? I cant remember the reference but a PLCb3 null mice lost the itch phenotype, so presumably it is ...
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1answer
4k views

What is the difference between the cellular affix -cyte and -blast?

The affix -blast means an immature cell, and -cyte indicates any cell. So how do we define if a cell is mature (-cyte) or immature (-blast)? How does this apply to odontoblasts and ameloblasts? Why ...
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1answer
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What causes Paresthesia (Pins and Needles) at a cellular level?

I've looked it up in plenty of places like the Wikipedia page and such, and it is clear that the most common cause of Paresthesia is either a fair amount of pressure on a specific patch of skin ...
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4answers
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Photosynthesis: What Powers the Splitting of Water?

The splitting of water is an endergonic (non-spontaneous) reaction, and thus would require energy (chemical work to be done) in order to happen. In Photosystem II, an enzyme catalyzes this splitting, ...
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2answers
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How many human cells are there in our body, on average?

How many human cells are there in our body, on average? Wikipedia says 1013: Bacterial cells are much smaller than human cells, and there are at least ten times as many bacteria as human cells in ...
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1answer
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The Origin of Mitochondria

For a long time I've just accepted, because it is just what everyone told me, that mitochondria became organelles in the cell when they were "engulfed" by another cell which acted like it's host. This ...
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1answer
2k views

Why are certain aneuploidies more common?

Certain aneuploidies such as trisomy-21 (Downs syndrome), trisomy-18 (Edward syndrome), Turner syndrome (XO) etc are more common than others. I had a vague thought that it is related to chromosome ...
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2answers
3k views

Is there a purpose for nucleated red blood cells in reptile, avian and fish blood?

I have read, and read, and read documents on this subject but still have no conclusions. Everything I have read explains why mammals don't have a nucleus (to make more room for the haemoglobin and ...
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1answer
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How do lipid-soluble substances diffuse through the cell membrane?

It’s said that water-soluble substances can diffuse through cell membrane with less ease than lipid-soluble substances because the former encounters impedance in the hydrophobic region of the ...
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1answer
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X chromosome “weight”?

According to Wikipedia, the X chromosome has approximately 153 million base pairs, while the Y chromosome has only 60 million base pairs. Thus, the difference is roughly 93 million base pairs. My ...
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2answers
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Can I force evolution in a group of cells by removing all the smaller cells?

I actually have algae growing in water in a container. I was thinking if it was possible to filter the water so that all the small cells will be filtered out and only the bigger ones will remain to ...
6
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1answer
140 views

Macromolecule levels in daughter cells after fission

When a prokaryote undergoes binary fission, how are the non-DNA macromolecules distributed between the two daughter cells? This is motivated by comments on a previous question and a G+ discussion. I ...
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2answers
605 views

Inductance in cell

In an animal cell, especially neuron and in particular its axon, while there is electrical resistance and capacitance mechanism in the cell, which play essential roles in the cable theory model of ...
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3answers
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What is happening when we get a tan?

Almost everyone nowadays wants that nice summer tan, but what exactly is going on beneath the skin? I've heard a few different theories about tanning - such as a tan is nothing but the pigmentation in ...
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1answer
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Time spent in phases of cell cycle

I am looking for references to papers containing the time intervals spent in different phases of the cell cycle (ej., G0, G1, S, G2, M for eukaryotes) for different cells. In particular, I am ...
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1answer
835 views

Why are hard boiled eggs so homogeneous?

A eukaryotic animal cell is a complicated piece of biological machinery. Some major structures inside of the cell (see the image below) include: the nucleus, mitochondria, Golgi vesicles, and various ...
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1answer
87 views

Is forced cell growth related to apoptosis?

Could an instance of forced cellular growth cause some cells to have their self-destruct mechanisms to malfunction or 'turn off'thus preventing apoptosis?
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2answers
3k views

Can brain cells move?

I was discussing this with my brother. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that they can move. Thanks EDIT: By movement I mean long distance migration (preferably within the brain only).
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2answers
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Why is thymine not incorporated into mRNA?

I am aware that in transcription uracil bonds to adenine and not thymine. But what is it that actually prevents thymine from bonding to adenine in transcription, that is not present in replication?
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4answers
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Was the mitochondrion or chloroplast first?

I still don't know if the mitochondrion or chloroplast was first? I've looked for it on the internet and in various books but haven't found anything. Does anyone have the answer and a theory which ...
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1answer
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Why is DNA double stranded and RNA single stranded? [closed]

Why is DNA present as a double helix structure and RNA as a single helix? What causes the difference between them? What are the practical physiological differences between dsDNA and ssRNA? How are the ...
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4answers
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Why is too much glucose harmful?

I learned the citric acid cycle in biotechnology school and how cells work; about ADP and ATP and how the Cellular respiration (C6H12O6 + 6O2 -> 6CO2+6H2O) works. I am interested in understanding why ...
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5answers
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Why are there no known animals with an odd number of legs?

In my 6th grade science book it is said that there are no three legged animals, and that no animal with an odd number of limbs exists. I checked Wikipedia and could confirm this: There are no ...
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1answer
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Can an organism exist as a single cell but come together as multi-cellular during certain times?

I am trying to remember a particular segment from a BBC special, in which there was single cellular species. However, at certain times all the individual cells came together to form a structure, not ...
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1answer
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What is the difference between organelle membranes?

Cells and organelles are contained in lipid bilayers. I'm particularly interested in eukaryotic organelle bilayers and the biophysicochemical differences between them. Many papers assume a ...
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3answers
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What is the distinction between chemokines, cytokines, interferons and interleukins?

They all seem to describe molecules of similar function and many people seem to use them interchangeably. Also please include any other similar molecules if I've forgotten any in the list above.
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1answer
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How long will a vegetable live for after being harvested?

I understand this might depend on the types of vegetables, but is there an average or studied specifics? Does it die immediately? Is there a way to precisely diagnose death in plants? If so, what are ...
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1answer
211 views

What are the costs associated with carrying lots of genetic material

What are the costs (if any) associated with carrying lots of genetic material (Big genome size)? energy for copying? raw material for copying? space in the cell? Maintenance cost (matter and energy)?...
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1answer
11k views

Why aren't organelles considered alive?

I'm taking a 3-week Bio I summer course, and my textbook says the cell is the smallest/basic unit of life. I asked my professor why organelles aren't a living unit, and her reply was that they aren't ...
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1answer
472 views

If so many different hormones/molecules work by activating adenylyl cyclase, how do they have different effects?

It seems that many hormones and molecules work by activating adenylyl cyclase to convert $\text{ATP}$ to $\text{cAMP}$, such as adrenaline and glucagon. Both of these seem to bind to $\text G$ protein ...
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1answer
2k views

Why should phospholipid non-polar tails be “protected” in the membrane bilayer?

lipids are arranged within the membrane with polar head towards the outer side and non polar tails towards inner side, this ensures that the non polar tail is protected from aqueous environment. My ...
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2answers
969 views

What determines the fate of a cell with respect to differentiation?

I have been reading about Townes and Holtfreter's work in 1955, in which cells are dissociated from a blastocyst in an alkaline solution then mixed together and spontaneously reaggregates based on ...
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1answer
2k views

Why are transmembrane proteins difficult to crystallise?

I know that in vivo there are a lot fewer transmembranous proteins in general, and that they are produced at a lower rate than their free counterparts. This is mainly because transmembrane proteins ...
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1answer
87 views

What is the purpose of requiring two separate binding systems for the antibody response?

I've read that in most cases, B-cell activation requires helper T-cells. This requires antigen binding by both antibodies and T-cell receptors, using two different antigen-binding proteins, ...
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1answer
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Are all functions of a human cell known? [closed]

Please bear with me as I'm intruding into your world from a computer science background. In programming, once you have created a program, you know all functions of that program. Thus, 100% knowledge ...