A cell is part of the microscopic anatomy of many types of lifeforms. The study of cells is cytology.

Origins and biologyEdit

During the earliest stages of evolution, chemical compounds will form, and interactions will determine the synthesis of life's building blocks. The basic structure of early viable life will tend to become enclosed, in the cell, and reproduce itself. Single-celled lifeforms eventually give way to multicellular life through mutation, leaving the cell as the most basic form of all descendant lifeforms.

In the nucleus, cells contain the genes of a lifeform, the recorded pattern that determines the growth and structure. In the majority of the galaxy, cellular nuclei have common chemical structures which store genetic data as deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, with associated structure made of ribosomes and RNA. This commonality owes to an ancient progenitor civilization that, at the end of their existence, encoded messages into genetic strands left on class M planets. Many of those worlds gave rise to the various forms of humanoid life that make up the majority of the galaxy's population. (TNG episode: "The Chase"; TNG novel: The Buried Age)

Even though the progenitors gave rise to numerous chemically-compatible carbon-based species, evolution and mutation has caused some of them to be quite different from the original norm. Even though both iron-blooded humanoids and copper-blooded vulcanoids are vastly different in basic anatomy, they share the progenitor DNA link. Additionally, evolution has also given rise to chemically unrelated life, with cells made up of a range of different substances, such as silicon. The Tholians have crystalline cell structures containing liquid medium. (TLE novel: The Sundered)

Cells are made up of a number of compounds and structures that perform their lifeprocesses. Some of these include protoplasm, cytoplasmic protein, and mitochondria. (DS9 novels: Devil in the Sky, Avatar, Book One; CoE eBook: Ghost)

Cells reproduce by cellular division. The cell will eventually build up enough structures to support the synthesis of a new cell, and the nucleus will divide. The cell wall will grow between the two nuclei, and the new cell will separate. Unless some factor introduces a change to the genetic structure, the new cell will have identical genes compared to the original.

When an external factor causes a change in the genetic structure, it is referred to as a mutation. Otherwise, lifeforms that evolve sexual reproduction will undergo a process by which cells from different individuals combine genetic material.

Genetic data in a protein shell that can subsume cells is called a virus. Viral infection of a cell usually involves the replacement of the cell's genetic data with a copy of the virus, which can then use the cell for a different purpose. Viral reproduction can then occur, and the new virus can move to other cells. Viral infection can also lead a cell to divide into a new cell that has been taken over by the same virus.

The cell structure of the Kobliad species was degrading by the 24th century. In order to survive, the Kobliad required treatments of deuridium to stabilize the condition. (DS9 episode: "The Passenger")

Cell structureEdit

Single-cell lifeformsEdit

Types of cellsEdit

See alsoEdit

External linkEdit

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