The Cell: A Very Short Introduction

The Cell: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Very Short Introductions

By (author) Terence Allen, By (author) Graham J. Cowling

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 114mm x 175mm x 13mm | 113g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199578753
  • ISBN 13: 9780199578757
  • Illustrations note: 15 black and white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 150,729

Product description

All living things on Earth are composed of cells. A cell is the simplest unit of a self-contained living organism, and the vast majority of life on Earth consists of single-celled microbes, mostly bacteria. These consist of a simple 'prokaryotic' cell, with no nucleus. The bodies of more complex plants and animals consist of billions of 'eukaryotic' cells, of varying kinds, adapted to fill different roles - red blood cells, muscle cells, branched neurons. Each cell is an astonishingly complex chemical factory, the activities of which we have only begun to unravel in the past fifty years or so through modern techniques of microscopy, biochemistry, and molecular biology. In this Very Short Introduction, Terence Allen and Graham Cowling describe the nature of cells - their basic structure, their varying forms, their division, their differentiation from initially highly flexible stem cells, their signalling, and programmed death. Cells are the basic constituent of life, and understanding cells and how they work is central to all biology and medicine. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Author information

Dr Graham Cowling has been director and teacher on a Masters programme in oncology and postgraduate tutor for research students in cancer studies at the Medical School, Univeristy of Manchester, for the past ten years. He has written a number of research papers and contributed reviews and chapters to books.

Table of contents

1. Recognising the cell ; 2. The structure of the cell ; 3. Cell division, differentiation, and death ; 4. Special cells for special jobs ; 5. Stem cells ; 6. Ethics, politics, and regulation ; 7. Celluar therapy ; 8. The future is now