What is a human cell?


Quick Answer

A human cell is a tiny container of chemicals, making it the basic building block of all human life. There are trillions of cells in a human being, and they determine the structure and function of each person.

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Full Answer

The container of chemicals in a cell is wrapped in a membrane. When all of the trillions of cells are put together, they deliver the necessary information for human life; for example, they provide a structure for the body. This means they combine together to form internal organs like lungs, while others form together to make muscle tissue. They also control how the body extracts food from nutrients before turning that food into energy.

There is no standard type of cell, however , and there are about 200 different variations. The main parts of a cell are the membrane and the nucleus, but the full list of parts is below:

  • Nucleus
  • Plasma membrane
  • Cytoplasm
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Golgi apparatus
  • Lysosomes and peroxisomes
  • Mitochondria
  • Ribosomes

Cells die in the body at a rate of about 96 million a minute. These are replaced as other cells divide. This is most obvious in the form of dead skin that flakes off, replaced by new skin underneath. The length of time that a cell lives for depends on the type of cell.

Learn more about Human Anatomy

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