- Describe the differences between animal and plant cells.
- Where is genetic material found in plant cells?
- Mitochondria are the only organelles that contain their own DNA (circular) and have a double membrane. Why do you think this might be so?
Hint 1: Where else do we see circular DNA?)
Hint 2: What do you know about the relative age of eukaryotic cells?)
- How is the structure of the plant’s cellulose-based cell wall related to its function?
- Defects in structures of the cell can lead to many diseases. Pick one structure of a eukaryotic cell and develop a hypothesis as to what you think the implications would be if that structure did not function properly.
- Using books, articles, the internet, etc. conduct research to determine if your hypothesis was correct.
Let's pick the nucleus in our eukaryotic cell to make a hypothesis. We know that the nucleus controls all the functions of the cell because its function is gene expression. If something were to go wrong with the nucleus then the gene expression wouldn't be properly controlled. The nucleus is involved with cellular reproduction and so that could be jeopardized. You could conjecture that the cells would grow uncontrollably, mutate, and ultimately die.
Although the plant cells and animal cells are eukaryotic cells, they differ in their structure. Hence, the animal cells have a different cell surface membrane that surrounds the cell compared to the plants' cells that have a cell surface rigid wall. Due to the rigid wall, the shape of plants' cells is rectangular and the cell could receive, through osmosis mechanism, a large volume of water. Unlike plants' cell wall, the animals' cells have a irregular shape and the thin surrounding membrane is not able to bear large pressure, hence, the cell can explode if it absorbs large amounts of water.
In animals' cells there exists no chloroplasts, while in plants' cells the chloroplasts are present. The presence of chloroplasts makes possible the process of photosynthesis.
The plants' cells have in their middle large vacuoles, hence the location of nucleus inside cell is no more centered, usually the nucleus being found at the edge of the cell. In animals' cells the vacuoles are temporary.
The genetic material is found in two types of organelles in cytoplasm. While the organelles in animals' cells are mitochondria, in plants' cells, the genetic material is found in chloroplasts.
Mitochondria have a double membrane, each of membrane having inserted proteins. The inner membrane is folded, the folds having the property to increase the surface area, hence, improving the cellular respiration.