Why the cell is called the structural and functional unit of life?


-Aqsa, Subject Matter Expert at Edumarz.

Solution: The shape and structure of a living body are due to the definite arrangement of various structural units like cells, tissues, organs, etc. Not only that the cells contribute to body shape but are active units of metabolic activity, essential for the existence of an organism. Though each group of cells has its function to perform, the smooth activity of an organism is due to the coordination of all these cells constituting the living body. The entire organism arises from a single cell, and therefore all the component cells are genetically similar. As the cell mature and form a part of tissue or organ, these become specialized for a particular function either permanently or reversibly.

However, all living cells retain the ability to return to their unspecialized condition and, therefore, remain capable of giving rise to a whole new individual of the parental type. This potential of the living cell is called totipotency. Every cell is an organism in itself.

The organelles like mitochondria, ribosomes, Golgi bodies, etc. perform different functions. They contribute to the functioning of a cell as a single, independent organism. Hence, a cell is a structural and functional unit of an organism and is a basic unit of life.

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