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Possible exam question - non-living entity 3 All cells...

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Possible Final Exam Question from Lecture 1 Question : Write about a half page listing the three basic tenets of the cell theory and in your own words explain exactly what the cell theory says and some of the implications of the theory. Answer : The cell theory, proposed in the 19th century, has three propositions. 1) The fundamental unit of life is the cell. Proposed by Schleiden and Schwann, this theory implies that reductionism, the belief that studies of smaller parts help to understand the whole, can be applied to living beings and not solely physical matter. Thus the credibility of the vitalist force which distinguishes organisms from other matter is challenged. 2) All organisms are comprised of at least one cell. This Schleiden and Schwann proposition helps to define life, and gave rise to the eventual belief of a virus as distinct
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Unformatted text preview: non-living entity. 3) All cells originate from preexisting cells. The last proposition, added by Virchow, most clearly conflicts with the concept of spontaneous generation, in which life was seen to arise by spontaneous or divine means. It is commonly accepted that this proposition has one exception in which a single celled organism once arose from inorganic substances. Further implications include the support of evolution theory (proposed in the same year, 1858) - in that because of the universal cellular basis of life and the similarities between all animal cells (and by extension all cells), lay to rest ideas that 'we' as humans are so far removed from any other organism. It can be understood then, that because of our cellular similarities, gradual changes in structure and function from primordial organisms...
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