An in-depth look into the history and development of cell theory within biology.
‘All cells come from pre-existing cells, and make up the structure and physiology of living things.’ Virchow proposed the theory that all cells come from pre-existing cells, through a process we now know as mitosis, or meiosis for some cells. Twenty years later after the proposal, Virchow was recording how cells actually divided, therefore proving that cells divided from each other, and were constantly regenerating themselves to keep the organism alive and operating to their full extent.
‘The cell retains a dual existence as both a separate entity and a part of the organism.’ In hindsight, this opened the door to being able to study mitochondrion, and realising that they are actually their own separate organism, and without its respiration, life itself would have a hard time existing.
The overall impact on cellular biology was remarkable, for a start, it virtually invented cell biology, as previously, people believed us to be made of all separate entities. Up to this day, cell biology is still being changed drastically by new discoveries, such as when the human genome project was finished, finding out all the DNA, and this only happened because the acknowledgement that the cell contains DNA to pass on hereditary information. The discovery of this showed the world how genetic information is passed on from cell to cell, and from parent to child.
Another discovery was that energy flow occurs within all cells, providing the organism with energy, and the cell itself. This changed how organisms were perceived to function within biology, as it was clearly not the organism working on its own, the cells that make the organism are driving it as well, constantly supplying new cells and allowing movement, breathing, and most importantly, heart cells keep organism’s hearts beating using their natural movement. Thanks to this discovery, we are now aware of how energy works within cells.
The most important statement in the modern cell theory, is that all cells have the basic same chemical composition. As advances of cellular biology have discovered this, we now know exactly what cells are made of, and all specialist cells and stem cells have the same basic chemical signature, proving that all cells are the same until the use is mentioned. This is imperative to cellular biology as it shows that all organisms, from cows to people, have the same basic composition.
Overall, from Hooke and his slice of cork, to Watson and Crick, discoverers of DNA, cellular biology has truly been shaped by the statements that cell theory entails. Without the original cell theory, we wouldn’t know about how we function, what makes organisms and finally, how life actually works.
Image via Wikipedia