What is the most important part of cells and lies at the center of all cellular activity?

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Usually the nucleus is given the honor of being called the most important part of the cell. This is because the nucleus holds all of the DNA in a cell, and the DNA contains all of the information necessary for life processes. In many analogies involving cell organelles, the nucleus...

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Usually the nucleus is given the honor of being called the most important part of the cell. This is because the nucleus holds all of the DNA in a cell, and the DNA contains all of the information necessary for life processes. In many analogies involving cell organelles, the nucleus holds the place of the 'brains' of the cell. 

Although every cell with a nucleus hold all of the DNA necessary for the living organism, not all DNA is used by every cell. When a cell differentiates, or becomes a certain type of cell, it uses only the DNA necessary for that specific cell. In an analogy I often use with students, I refer to the nucleus as holding the entire instruction book for life, but cells only 'read' the chapters that apply to them. 

This is the idea behind some of the research that is trying to make cells become different types of cells. If we can figure out how to get a cell to 'read' other parts of their DNA, they can become a different type of cell. This can help lead to new treatments and/or cures for a wide variety of conditions.

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