The diversity of cellular life
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The diversity of cellular life. Colonies of primitive unicellular organisms don’t show emergent properties. Prokaryotic organisms or primitive eukaryotic organisms (algae, protistae ) exist in colonies of identical cells

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The diversity of cellular life

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The diversity of cellular life

Colonies of primitive unicellular organisms don’t show emergent properties

  • Prokaryotic organisms or primitive eukaryotic organisms (algae, protistae) exist in colonies of identical cells

  • While the cells co-operate, they do not fuse to form a single mass and so don’t form a single organism

  • Each cell has identical structure and function

Multicellular organisms have differentiated cells

Cells are specialised:

  • Blood cells

  • Muscle cells

  • Retinal cells

  • Glandular cells

  • Epithelial cells

    Each cell type has a special task and structure

    Each cell has the same DNA, but only a section of it is expressed

Levels of ‘organisation’ in a multicellular organism

  • CELL




Cardiac myocytes


Cardiovascular system

4 key animal tissue types

  • Epithelial

  • Connective

  • Muscle

  • Nervous

Human Anatomy, Larry M. Frolich, Ph.D.

Simple: just one layer or cell shape

Stratified: multiple layers and cell shapes

Classes of Epithelia

Human Anatomy, Larry M. Frolich, Ph.D.

“ciliated” literally = eyelashes

(see next page)

Stratified: regenerate from below


  • “Areolar tissue” as model

  • Universal in body

  • Underlies epithelium, supports capillaries, small nerves

Cells of Connective Tissues

  • Fibroblasts make fibres – cartilage, ligaments, blood, bone

  • Immune cells in areolar tissue

Different types of Connective tissues


  • Ligaments

  • Cartilage

  • Bone


  • Fat

  • Areolar

Human Anatomy, Larry M. Frolich, Ph.D.

Tissue types

3. Muscle tissue

  • Skeletal

  • Cardiac

  • Smooth

Tissue types

3. Nervous tissue

  • Skeletal

  • Cardiac

  • Smooth


Cell Differentiation

  • Harvard Animation

What are stem cells?

  • Cells that are able to generate more specialised types of cell types through the process of cell differentiation

  • Cells that can divide to make identical copies of themselves, through self-renewal

  • You can learn all about stem cells by watching the beautiful animation from Utah Genetics here:

  • Stem Cells

Different types of stem cells

1. Embryonic Stem Cells

  • Here, you can learn how embryonic stem cells are made:

  • Quck guide to Embryonic stem cells

  • Here is the BBC video on how embryonic stem cells are made:

  • How to make stem cells

Different types of stem cells

2. Somatic Stem Cells

  • (also called adult stem cells)

  • Exist naturally in the body

  • Used for bone marrow transplants

  • Can only differentiate into dedicated cell types

Adult Stem Cells are committed to become one type of cell

Stem cells in the adult brain:Are they still working for us now?

Embryonic Stem cells are pluripotent

Different types of stem cells

3. Induced pluripotential Stem Cells

  • Created artificially in the lab by ‘reprogramming’ a patients own cells

  • Made from patient’s own cells – fat, skin, fibroblasts

  • Can become any cell in the body (even a whole mouse!)

Induced pluripotential Stem Cells – The future!

  • Learn the story of iPS stem cells from Utah Genetics…

  • IPS stem cells

Stem Cells used in medicine: Treatment of leukaemia

  • Stem cell transplants have been successfully used since 1968 to treat patients with leukaemia

  • Patients with leukaemia first have their own abnormal blood cells destroyed by radiotherapy

  • Then the patients own bone marrow stem cells are replaced with a transplant (into the bloodstream) from a healthy patient’s bone marrow

  • If the transplant is successful, then the stem cells will migrate into the bone marrow and begin to produce new, healthy leucocytes

  • You can learn all about leukaemia treatment by linking here onto Utah Inc:

  • Utah Genetics

What can we use Stem Cells for?

  • To provide lab-grown human or animal tissue for identifying new treatments for disease (rather than using animals in research)

  • TO produce new human tissue and organs to replace damaged ones

  • To repair tissue by stimulating stem cells already in the body

  • To use stem cells from patients with inherited genetic diseases (e.g. cystic fibrosis, some forms of Parkinson’s disease) to study the disease

  • To better understand diseases like cancer

  • To investigate human development

Stem Cell Research is a fast-moving subject

  • Stem cell grandparents

  • Brand new sperm

  • First trial of human embryonic stem cells

  • Tracheal transplant

  • Stem cell nobel prize

The Stem Cell Ethical Debate

Links on ethics related to Stem Cell research

  • Stem Cell Ethics Factsheet

  • Ethics and Embryos Factsheet

  • Are embryos human? – a conversation…

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