Karp’s eighth basic property of cells is that:
Cells, despite their size, are more durable than we think. Because of this, in recent years, the term robust has been used to describe cells. Cells endure throughout dangerous fluctuations in composition and behavior. Feedback circuits are activated when fluctuations occur, allowing the cell to return to its appropriate state. Previously, I mentioned that cells are highly complex as well as organized. Well, for this state to be maintained, the cell requires both energy and constant regulation. When cells break down, the importance of a cell’s regulatory mechanisms becomes evidence. When a cell fails to correct a mistake during the duplication of its DNA, a debilitating mutation may be the result, or in another case, the cell’s growth-control safeguards may break down, converting the cell into a cancer cell, which has the ability to destroy the whole organism (Karp 2013).
Though the current knowledge on self-regulation of cells seems impressive, there is a lot more to be discovered. In 1891, a German embryologist, Hans Driesch, discovered that he could completely separate the first two or four cells of a sea urchin embryo. He also observed that each of the isolated cells would continue to develop into a completely normal embryo (under regular circumstances). At the time, this was intriguing. That the isolated cell could regulate its own activities and then form an entire embryo, that it could recognize the absence of its neighbors, that it could redirect the entire course of the cell’s development, and that merely a portion of an embryo could have a sense of the whole all were rather remarkable things. At yet, even today we are unable to answer these questions definitively (Karp 2013).
In biology, many processes can be described using a series of ordered steps. In the cell, nucleic acids hold the information for “product design,” (such as in the assembly-line construction of an automobile). Proteins are like the construction workers. The presence of nucleic acids and proteins makes the study of the living cell worlds different from the nonliving cell. What makes a cell’s processes much different from the assembly-line construction of a car is that each step occurs spontaneously, and not with the benefit of conscious direction. Each spontaneous event must trigger the next step automatically. Cellular activities of different types thus require unique tools and machinery, all of which are highly complex, and all of which have only been obtained over the course of history through natural selection and biological evolution (Karp 2013).
A prospective medical student, looking to help others succeed.