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What part of the cell is never found in animal cells?This question is often confusing...

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judithgailwil... | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 17, 2011 at 7:15 AM via web

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What part of the cell is never found in animal cells?

This question is often confusing as there APPEAR to be several answers.  Listed are the typical answers with accompanying explanations:

1.  The cell wall - it acts as support and is only found in plant cells

2.  Chloroplast - this is the sunlight catching organelle and gives plants their characteristic green color.  However, chloroplasts are sometimes found in protozoa (volvox, stentor are examples).

3.  Vacuole:  Vacuoles are used in plant and single celled animals to store water, food or waste.  Sometimes people think they are only found in animal OR plant cells - they forget about the protozoa and single celled algea.

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lachicdina | Teacher | eNoter

Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:04 AM (Answer #1)

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Really there are several parts, or as they are scientifically called, organelles, that are not found in animal cell but are in plant cell:  Chloroplast (helps with energy capturing from the sun), cell wall (helps plants with rigidity), and a big vacuole (storage of water, etc.).

The last one is actually also in animal cells but the vacuoles are much much smaller and more numerous.  The real answer just chloroplasts and cell wall.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:03 AM (Answer #2)

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Given the list you have offered here, cell wall is the best choice, but the wording of the question is critical. Cell walls are never found in animal cells, but are not exclusive to plants, as fungi have them too, albeit made of a different material. Additionally, the term "part" is a bit sticky here - plant cells secrete the cell wall and live within it, but it's not really part of the cell, and it's not an organelle at all, a misunderstanding I have encountered many times.

Chloroplasts are not limited to plants, they are found in a number of groups of protists as well. However it would be good to bear in mind that not all plants have chloroplasts; there are some species of parasitic and/or saprophytic plants that do not (Monotropa uniflora, or Indian pipes, comes immediately to mind as an example). Additionally, chloroplasts are a subgroup of the plastids; one type of plastid that is indeed limited to plants is amyloplasts.

Virtually every cell, plant or animal, has one or more vacuoles, the major distinction between plant and animal cells on this score is what percent of the cell's net volume is taken up by them.

Regarding the converse of this question, plant cells never have lysosomes or centrioles, and animal cells do.

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