Functions of Cell
A cell performs these major functions essential for the growth and development of an organism. Important functions of the cell are as follows:
- Provides Support and Structure: All the organisms are made up of cells. They form the structural basis of all the organisms. The cell wall and the cell membrane are the main components that function to provide support and structure to the organism. Ex: The skin is made up of a large number of cells. Xylem present in the vascular plants is made of cells that provide structural support to the plants.
- Facilitate Growth Mitosis: In the process of mitosis, the parent cell divides into the daughter cells. Thus, the cells multiply and facilitate the growth in an organism.
- Allows Transport of Substances: The waste produced by the chemical processes are eliminated from the cells by active and passive transport. Small molecules such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and ethanol diffuse across the cell membrane along the concentration gradient. This is known as passive transport. The larger molecules diffuse across the cell membrane through active transport where the cells require a lot of energy to transport the substances.
- Energy Production: Cells require energy to carry out various chemical processes. This energy is produced by the cells through a process called photosynthesis in plants and respiration in animals.
- Aids in Reproduction: A cell aids in reproduction through the processes called mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis is termed as the asexual reproduction where the parent cell divides to form daughter cells. Meiosis causes the daughter cells to be genetically different from the parent cells. Thus, we can understand why cells are known as the structural and functional unit of life. This is because they are responsible for providing structure to the organisms and perform several functions necessary for carrying out life’s processes.