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Week 1 - Introduction to Cells.docx

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University of British Columbia
BIOL 112
Karen Smith

Week1IntroductiontoCells13TheCellCell the simplest selfreplicating entity that can exist as an independent unit of lifeKey Features of a CellContains a stable blueprint of information in molecular formHas a discrete boundary that separate the interior of the cell from its external environmentAble to harness materials and energy from the environmentCell DiversitySizeMost cells are tiny and cannot be detected by the naked eyeHowever certain specialized cells can be quite large eg some nerve cells have axons spanning a meter and an ostrich egg is a single giant cellStructures eg eukaryotes have membranebound organelles while prokaryotes do notUnicellular vs Multicellular eg most bacteria yeasts and algae exist as single cells in contrast plants and animals are made up of millions to billions of cellsNucleicacidsstoreandtransmitinformationCells require a stable archive of information togrow function and reproduceencode and determine physical attributes structure and metabolic activitiesDNA deoxyribonucleic aciddoublestranded helix made up of varying sequences of 4 different nucleotidescontains information which directs the synthesis of proteinsRNA ribonucleic acid a molecule closely related to DNA that is synthesized by proteins from a DNA template plays a vital role in the pathway from DNA to proteinProteins key structural and functional molecules that do the work of the cellThe Central Dogma of Molecular Biology describes the basic flow of information in cells from DNA to RNA specifically mRNA to proteinTranscription process of copying information from one form into another ie synthesis of RNA from a DNA template
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