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What is the Cell Theory? – Definition, History, Characteristics, Importance

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In 1838, a German botanist, Matthias Schleiden was quick to express that cells are the structure blocks, everything being equal. In the next year, another German botanist, Theodor Schwann expressed that cells are the crucial units of creatures as well. These assertions finished the idea that plants and creatures have crucial contrasts in structure.

Their revelations prompted the plan of the ‘Cell Theory‘. Cell Theory expresses that cells are the essential units of every living life form. Be that as it may, the cell hypothesis neglected to make sense of how new cells emerge. In 1855, Rudolf Virchow, a German physiologist expressed in German ‘Omnis cellula e cellula‘ which implies that new cells come from previously existing cells.

In this manner, the three significant marks of the altered cell hypothesis are as per the following:

  • The cell is the essential practical and underlying unit of every living organic entity.
  • All living life forms are comprised of cells.
  • All cells emerge from previous cells.
  • Before very long, researchers additionally found that the body units responsible for propagation are likewise cells. Here are a few fun realities for you. The female egg (Ovum) is the biggest cell in the human body. The littlest cell, then again, is the sperm.

Assuming the littlest unit of issue is a particle, what is the littlest unit of every single living organic entity? It is called ‘Cell’. Basically, no phones no life. We should find out about the cell, cell hypothesis, and the kinds of cells in more detail.

 A cell is a principal and underlying unit of every living life form. It is the littlest organic, underlying, and useful unit of all plants and creatures. In this way, cells are the ‘Building Blocks of Life’ or the ‘Fundamental units of Life’. Organic entities comprised of a solitary cell are ‘unicellular’ though life forms comprised of numerous cells are ‘multicellular’. Cells carry out a wide range of roles inside a living creature like processing, breath, proliferation, and so on.


For instance, inside the human body, a ton of cells lead to a tissue → various tissues make up an organ → numerous organs make an organ framework → a few organ frameworks working together make up the human body.

  • The cell hypothesis portrays the essential properties, everything being equal.
  • The three researchers that added to the advancement of the cell hypothesis are Matthias Schleiden, Theodor Schwann, and Rudolf Virchow.
  • A part of the cell hypothesis is that all living things are made out of at least one cell.
  • A part of the cell hypothesis is that the cell is the essential unit of life.
  • A part of the cell hypothesis is that all new cells emerge from existing cells.

Cell Theory Key Points

  • The bodies of all living beings are made up of cells and their products.
  • Cells are units of a structure in the body of living organisms. Every cell is made up of a mass of protoplasm having a nucleus, organelles, and a covering membrane.
  • Cells are units of function in living organisms, that is, the activities of an organism are the sum total of the activities of its cells.
  • Life exists only in cells because all the activities of life are performed by cells.
  • The growth of an organism involves the growth and multiplication of its cells.
  • Genetic information is stored and expressed inside cells.
  • Life passes from one generation to the next in the form of a living cell.
  • New cells arise from pre-existing cells through division. All new cells contain the same amount and degree of genetic information as contained in the parent cell.

Characteristics  of Cell 

Cells can be subdivided into the following subcategories


Prokaryotes are relatively small cells surrounded by the plasma membrane, with a characteristic cell wall that may differ in composition depending on the particular organism. Prokaryotes lack a nucleus (although they do have circular or linear DNA) and other membrane-bound organelles (though they do contain ribosomes). The protoplasm of a prokaryote contains the chromosomal region that appears as fibrous deposits under the microscope and the cytoplasm. Bacteria and Archaea are the two domains of prokaryotes.


Eukaryotes are complex cells, which have over time acquired a mitochondrial symbiont and later developed a nucleus.
Animals have evolved a greater diversity of cell types in a multicellular body (100–150 different cell types), compared with 10–20 in plants, fungi, and Protoctista.

Cell Cycle or Cell Theory

The cell cycle is the name we give the interaction through which cells imitate and make two new cells. The cell cycle has various stages called G1, S, G2, and M. G1 is the stage where the cell is getting ready to separate. To do this, it then, at that point, moves into the S stage where the cell duplicates all the DNA. In this way, S represents the DNA blend. After the DNA is replicated and there’s a finished additional arrangement of all the hereditary material, the cell moves into the G2 stage, where it coordinates and consolidates the hereditary material, or begins to gather the hereditary material, and plans to separate. The following stage is M. M represents mitosis. This is where the cell really parcels the two duplicates of the hereditary material into the two little girl cells. After the M stage finishes, cell division happens and two cells are left, and the cell cycle can start once more.

Conceptual Question

Question 1: What are all 3 cell theories?


The three principles of cell theory are: All living organisms are composed of one or more cells. The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of living organisms. All cells arise from pre-existing cells.

Question 2: What are the 4 principles of the cell theory?


  • Cells provide the basic units of functionality and structure in living things. 
  • Cells are both distinct, standalone units and basic building blocks. 
  • Energy flow occurs within cells. 
  • Cells contain genetic information in the form of DNA.

Question 3: What is cell theory explain?


A theory in biology that includes one or both of the statements that the cell is the fundamental structural and functional unit of living matter and that the organism is composed of autonomous cells with its properties being the sum of those of its cells.

Question 4: What are the cell cycle’s 4 stages?


The cell cycle is a four-stage process in which the cell increases in size (gap 1, or G1, stage), copies its DNA (synthesis, or S, stage), prepares to divide (gap 2, or G2, stage), and divides (mitosis, or M, stage). The stages G1, S, and G2 make up the interphase, which accounts for the span between cell divisions.

Question 5: What are the three parts of the cell theory?


The three parts of the cell theory are as follows: (1) All living things are made up of cells, (2) Cells are the smallest units (or most basic building blocks) of life, and (3) All cells come from preexisting cells through the process of cell division. Cells were first observed by the natural philosopher Robert Hooke in 1665. Though many scientists contributed to the understanding of cells, Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann are credited with describing the first two parts of the cell theory in 1839, and Rudolf Virchow later contributed the third. Today, cell theory is considered the foundation of biology.

Last Updated : 11 Jul, 2022
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