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A human body is nothing more than a collection of different cells that perform various functions to achieve a common goal. Biology teaches us about the two different types of cells, plant cells, and animal cells. During school days, students might have minor confusion between the two cells. Keep reading this blog to learn about the difference between plant cells and animal cells.
Studying the human body, a complex assembly of various cells, offers intriguing insights into biology, especially when learning from an international perspective in biotechnology. Biology educates us about plant and animal cells, two distinct cell types. Students often encounter initial confusion between these cells during school. Studying biotechnology abroad can provide a broader, more diverse understanding of these fundamental differences. Continue reading this blog to explore the nuances between plant and animal cells.
What is a cell?
A cell is a smallest and most fundamental unit required for life to exist. These cells are in charge of carrying out various life activities. Organisms are classified into two categories based on the number of cells present.
Unicellular organisms are believed to be the earliest forms of life on Earth. These organisms are called unicellular because their bodies comprise only one cell. Prokaryotes are the most common type of unicellular organism.
Since unicellular organisms have a single cell, cell divisions such as mitosis and meiosis do not occur within them. Instead, these organisms reproduce asexually, such as budding.
From unicellular life, more multicellular life evolved. These organisms have specialized cells with modified cell organelles that perform specific functions.
Both types of cell division, mitosis and meiosis, occur in multicellular organisms. It is the primary cause of these organisms’ increasingly complex and complicated evolution. Plants and animals are multicellular organisms, meaning they almost share each feature of multicellular organisms.
What is a plant cell?
A plant cell is a eukaryotic cell with a true nucleus and organelles carrying specific functions. Photosynthesis is a natural phenomenon that only occurs in plant cells. This means that animal cells cannot photosynthesize.
Some characteristics associated with plant cells are as follows-
- A cell wall is present.
- Only plant cells, such as chloroplasts, contain cell organelles that participate in photosynthesis.
- Plant cells are also distinguished by large vacuoles, which provide shape and stability to the cell.
- Plant cells are the only ones that experience plasmolysis.
What is an animal cell?
Animal cells are eukaryotic cells surrounded by a cell membrane and contain a membrane-bound nucleus. Apart from the nucleus, the animal cell includes a variety of membrane-bound organelles that serve particular tasks.
An animal cell has the following characteristics-
- The absence of a cell wall
- There are no chloroplasts or vacuoles.
- Flagella, lysosomes, and centrosomes are all present. Plant cells do not have these structures.
- Most animal cells’ fundamental responsibility is to aid in respiration, reproduction, energy production, and other life processes.
Difference between plant and animal cells
Most animal cells are round, whereas the majority of plant cells are rectangular. A rigid cell wall surrounds the cell membrane in plant cells. Animal cells lack a cell wall. The cell wall is an easy way to differentiate plant cells when viewed through a microscope.
Plants are autotrophs; they procure energy from sunlight through the process of photosynthesis. Cell organelles known as chloroplasts carry out this process. Animal cells lack chloroplasts.
Cellular respiration is the process by which energy is generated from food (glucose) in animal cells. Cellular respiration occurs in mitochondria in animal cells, which are similar in structure to chloroplasts. They produce energy in animal cells.
Only a few lower plant forms have centrioles in their cells, such as the male gametes of charophytes, bryophytes, seedless vascular plants, cycads, and ginkgo. In contrast, centrioles are present in all animal cells.
Plant cells have one large central vacuole that can take up to 90% of the cell volume, whereas animal cells have one or more small vacuoles. The purpose of vacuoles in plant cells is to store water and keep the cell swollen. Animal cells have vacuoles that hold water, ions, and waste.
A lysosome is a membrane-bound spherical vesicle with hydrolytic enzymes capable of breaking down a wide range of biomolecules. It participates in cellular processes, such as secretion, plasma membrane repair, cell signaling, and energy metabolism. Lysosomes are well-defined in animal cells. The presence of lysosomes in plant cells is a point of contention. A few studies have found animal lysosomes in plant vacuoles, implying that plant vacuoles take on the function of the animal lysosomal system.
Difference between plant and animal cells in a tabular form ( include plant cell and animal diagrams)
|A cell wall protects and surrounds a plant cell.
|A cell wall does not exist in an animal cell.
|Plant cells have a large central vacuole that provides systemic support to the cell.
|Even though animal cells contain vacuoles, they are typically tiny and dispersed throughout the cell.
|The majority of plant cells are large.
|Animal cells are generally smaller in size than plant cells.
|Plastids, such as chloroplasts and chromoplasts, are found in plant cells.
|Plastids do not exist in animal cells.
|Plant cells lack the cell organelle known as the centrosome.
|Animal cells have a centrosome, which aids in cell division.
|Plant cells lack cilia, which are hair-like structures.
|Cilia, found in some animal cells, aid in cell movement.
|Lysosomes are uncommon in plant cells.
|Lysosomes are located in the majority of animal cells.
|Plant cells are naturally autotrophic.
|Animal cells are naturally heterotrophic.
- The cell is the most fundamental unit of life, and the human body uses these collections of cells to perform various functions.
- Unicellular and multicellular are the two classifications of organisms.
- Plant and animal cells have multiple points of differentiation. Such as the size, shape, cell wall, chloroplasts, lysosomes, and more.
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Q1. Who is known as the father of biology?
Answer- Aristotle is known as the father of biology. His theory describes metabolism, temperature regulation, and embryogenesis.
Q2. What is the meaning of the term biology?
Answer – Biology is the study of life forms. The term ‘biology’ comes from the Greek words ‘bios’ (life) and ‘logos’ (‘study’).
Q3. What are the three types of plant cells?
Answer- The three types of plant cells include parenchyma, collenchyma, or sclerenchyma. Structure and function differ between the three types.