What Are Examples of Specialized Cells?

Two examples of specialized cells are sperm and blood cells. A specialized cell is any cell that performs a specific task in the body instead of doing multiple jobs. Specialized cells can also be called differentiated cells.

Skin, muscle and organ cells are all examples of specialized animal cells. These cells have specific functions that help the organism survive and live. Some specialized plant cells are leaf and root hair cells, both of which have different methods of gathering nutrients for the plant. Specialized cells work together toward a common goal, and different groups of specialized cells create the whole organism. Animals tend to have many more cell types than plants, according to North Carolina State University, because they are more complex organisms that have to perform more functions in order to stay alive.

Cells become specialized through differentiation as the organism develops in its early embryonic stages. All specialized cells initially form from stem cells as the embryo develops. In order to become specialized, the totipotent stem cells have different genes and instructions within DNA activated. Once activated, these genes cause each cell to develop for a specific function. This changes the shape of the cell and how the cell develops afterward.