The Cell The Reproduction Crew

The entire mass of protoplasm within the cell is divided into two minor parts: the nucleus and a surrounding layer of cytoplasm that contains a number of elements essential to cell life. You can think of the nucleus as the boss of a crew hard at work in the cytoplasm. Members of this industrious crew include mitochondria, the energy-generating centers of the cell; ribosomes, which synthesize protein; lysosomes or waste collectors, which remove parts of the cell no longer needed; and membranes, which control the movement of particles across the cells.

Knowing what the crew is capable of doing, the nucleus directs its activities, leading to the division of the cell, a process called mitosis, or cell reproduction, which is constantly going on in your body, even as you sit reading these words. And it goes on every day of the year, every minute of the day; for as long as you live, some body tissues are reproducing themselves. By dividing into two parts, each with its own nucleus, each cell makes another exactly like itself The life of a red blood cell, for example, is only 18 weeks long, yet the number in our body always remains the same.

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