Cell Theory vs Modern Cell Theory

Monday, January 23, 2023

Advances in technology will many times lead to new discoveries and scientific theories that were once never considered. The invention of the microscope led to the discovery of cells and helped us get a much better understanding of how life works.

cell theory

Robert Hooke is credited with naming cells. In 1665 after using a crude microscope and looking at thin pieces of cork he saw structures that looked like cells in a monastery so he named them cells.

Although he named cells his understanding of cells was very very limited.

It took roughly 175 years before scientists learned enough about cells to come up with the cell theory. Credit for developing the cell theory is usually given to Theodor Schwann and Matthias Schleiden. In 1839 Schleiden realized that plants are composed of cells and during the same time Schwann realized that animals are also composed of cells. This was groundbreaking stuff.

cell theory

 In 1855, Rudolf Virchow  added the third tenet to cell theory when he proposed that all cells come from preexisting cells. Again, this was a bold statement for the times.

So the cell theory has three tenets.

All living organisms are composed of one or more cells.

The cell is the basic unit of structure and organization in organisms.

Cells arise from pre-existing cells.

Since 1855 microscopes have improved, computers are now used in research, and our knowledge of the cell has expanded greatly. As a result modern cell theory has expanded on these three original, but incredibly important tenets.

cell theory

Let’s go over 6 points of Modern Cell Theory.

All living things are made of cells

Organisms can be single celled or made of many,many cells.

The cell is the basic unit of life. 

Cells are both the building blocks of life and also the smallest unit of life.

cell theory

All cells come from preexisting cells.

Cells divide in order to create new cells. Part of this process involves mitosis

Genetic information is passed on during cell division.

When a cell divides a copy of the DNA is passed on to the new daughter cell.

All cells have the basic chemical composition

Cells have organelles, membranes, cytoplasm, and other similar structures that all work together to keep the cell alive

Energy flow occurs in the cell.

Cells use energy and create energy


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