The Cell Theory, Biology tutorial


It is a theory in biology which comprises one or both of the statements that the cell is the basic structural and functional unit of living matter and that the organism is comprised of autonomous cells having its properties being the sum of such of its cells.

Cell theory signifies to the idea that cells are the fundamental unit of structure in each and every living thing. Growth of this theory throughout the mid 17th century was made probable by advances in microscopy. This theory is one of the bases of biology. The theory states that new cells are made from other existing cells and that the cell is a basic unit of structure, function and organization in all the living organisms.

People and things that have made History:


Anaximander is a member of Greeks in the sixth century B.C. who lived on the Ionian Islands. He is credited with the primary thoughts of evolution. His viewpoint was that creatures from the sea were forced to come ashore, thus developing into land creatures.


Plato didn't directly help in the progress of biological thinking. His view was not experimental, however more philosophical. Most of his students went on to affect the progression of biological studies in the field of categorization.

The Atomists:

He is the most noted of the group of Greek philosophers was Democritus (460 - 370 B.C.). He followed Anaximander's outlook of evolution. Democritus is credited as being the father of atomic theory that joins directly to the biology. One significant theory of his was simply that when you have nothing, nothing might be created out of it.


Aristotle (384 - 322 B.C.) was recognized for his experimental approach and many dissections. He was drawn to animal categorization in order to discover aspects of connection among the soul and the human body. A few of his animal categorizations still stand today. One of his famous thoughts is prophesy of Mendelian genetic concepts:

It is obvious that there should be somewhat or other really existing, corresponding to what we call by the name of Nature. For a specified germ doesn't give rise to any arbitrary living being, nor spring from any chance one, however each germ springs from a definite parent and gives increase to an expected progeny. And therefore it is the germ which is the ruling affect and fabricator of the offspring.

The Microscope:

This tool opened up new doors in the field of biology, by permitting scientists to gaze into a new world: the cellular world. Galileo is credited by the discovery of the microscope. Two of the main pioneers in the usage of microscope were Athanasius Kircher and Antoni von Leeuwenhoek.

Robert Hooke:

This English naturalist (1635 - 1703) invented the word 'cell' after viewing the slices of cork via a microscope. The word came from the Latin word Cella that signifies 'storeroom' or 'small container'. He recognized his work in the Micrographia, written in the year1665.

 Jean-Baptiste De Lamarck:

The majority of Frenchman's work (1744 - 1829) dealt by animal categorization and evolution. He is credited by taking steps towards the creation of the cell theory by this saying:

"Each and every step that Nature takes when making her direct creations comprises in organising into cellular tissue the minute masses of mucous or viscous substances which she finds at her disposal beneath favorable conditions".

The Cell - An Individual Unit of Life:

In the year 1824, Rene Dutrochet discovered that the cell is the basic element in the structure of living bodies, making both animals and plants via juxtaposition. In Berlin, Johannes Muller made connections among medicine and biology, prompting the connective thinking of his students, such as those of Theodore Schwann. Schwann formed the term 'cell theory' and declared that plants comprised cells. This statement was made after that of Matthias Schleiden's (1804 - 1881) which animals are comprised of cells.


German pathologist Rudolf Virchow (1821 - 1902) modified the thought of cellular biology having his statement that each and every cell comes from a cell. Not even 20 years after this statement, procedures of cell reproduction were being explained. Virchow had accomplished the thought behind the fundamental cell theory.

The Cell Theory:

Intimations at the idea that the cell is the fundamental component of living organisms appeared well before 1838 - 1839, which was when the cell theory was officially prepared. Cells were not observed as undifferentiated structures. A few cellular components, like the nucleus, had been visualized, and the occurrence of such structures in cells of various tissues and organisms hinted at the possibility that the cells of similar organization may lie beneath all the living matter. 

The abbot Felice Fontana (1730 - 1805) sighted the nucleus in epithelial cells in the year 1781; however this structure had probably been viewed in animal and plant cells in the first decades of the 18th century. The Scottish botanist Robert Brown (1773 - 1858) was the first to identify the nucleus (a word which he introduced) as a necessary constituent of the living cells (1831).

In the leaves of orchids, Brown viewed 'a single circular areola, usually somewhat more opaque than the membrane of the cell. This areola, or nucleus of the cell as possibly it might be named, is not confined to the epidermis, being as well found not just in the pubescence of the surface, however in numerous cases in the parenchyma or internal cells of the tissue'. Brown recognized the general occurrence of the nucleus in such cells and in fact thought of the organization of the plant in terms of cellular constituents. 

In the meantime, technical enhancements in microscopy were being made. The principal disadvantage of microscopes since the times of van Leeuwenhoek's was what we now call 'chromatic aberration' that reduces the resolution power of the instrument at high magnifications. Only in the year 1830 were achromatic microscopes introduced, permitting more exact histological observations. Enhancements were as well made in tissue-preservation and treating methods.

In the year 1838, the botanist Matthias Jakob Schleiden (1804 - 1881) recommended that each and every structural element of plants is comprised of cells or their products.

The subsequent year, a same conclusion was described for animals by the zoologist Theodor Schwann (1810 - 1882). He stated that 'the elementary portions of all tissues are made up of cells' and that 'there is one worldwide principle of growth for the elementary portions of organisms and this principle is in the formation of cells'.  The conclusions of Schleiden and Schwann are considered to symbolize the official formulation of the 'cell theory' and their names are about as closely related to cell theory as are such of Watson and Crick by the structure of DNA.

According to Schleiden, though, the primary phase of the generation of cells was the making of a nucleus of 'crystallization' in the intracellular substance (that he termed as the 'cytoblast'), having subsequent progressive improvement of such condensed material to turn into a new cell. This concept of 'free cell formation' was suggestive of the old 'spontaneous generation' doctrine (however as an intracellular variant), however was disproved in the year 1850 by Robert Remak (1815-1865), Rudolf Virchow (1821- 1902) and Albert Kolliker (1817- 1905) who exhibited that cells are made via scission of pre-existing cells.

Cell theory inspired a reductionist approach to the biological problems and became the most general structural paradigm in the biology. It highlighted the theory of the unity of life and brought about the concept of organisms as 'republics of the living elementary units'.

Also being the basic unit of life, the cell was as well seen as the fundamental element of the pathological methods. Diseases came to be considered (irrespective of the causative agent) as a modification of cells in the organism. Virchow's Cellular pathology was the most significant pathogenic concept till, in this century, the theory of molecular pathology was build up.

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