Historical Development of the Cell Theory

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Biology Notes
1. Organisms are made of cells that have similar structural characteristics. 1 Outline the historical development of the cell theory, in particular the contributions of Robert Hooke and Robert Brown. The development of the cell theory starts in the 1600ʼs with Robert Hookeʼs discovery of cells when viewing a piece of cork under a microscope and describing them as a nun house. Anton van Leeuwenhoek was crucial in the development of microscopes making simple microscopes through advanced lens making techniques that enabled him to see 300X and also discovered bacteria. Robert Brown later in the 1900ʼs made the discovery of the cell nucleus. 2 Describe evidence to support the cell theory. 1. All living organisms are composed of one or more cells - Even in the smallest life form there is at least one cell 2. Cells are the basic building block of life 3. All cells are derived from pre-existing cells - through the process of meiosis and mitosis 4. In a multicellular organism, the activity of the entire organism depends on the total activity of its independent cells 3 Significance of technological advances to developments in the cell theory Assess the impact of technology including the development of the microscope on the development of the cell theory The development of cell theory has been heavily impacted by the improvement of technology. The improvement has allowed us from first only seeing a big group of cells to being able to now see to a scale so small we can see in and around a single cell. This has allowed us to observe cells with more detail than ever before and allow us to more accurately determine what cells have what purpose and many other uses. The cell theory states: • All living things or organisms are made of cells and their products. • New cells are created by old cells dividing into two. • Cells are the basic building units of life. The development of the microscope was vital for all 3 points. Without the invention and founding of compound microscopes and electron microscopes as well as new stains and techniques to look at specimens discoveries such as ʻnew cells are created by old cells dividing into twoʼ would not have been discovered. Therefore the invention of these new types of microscopes have made a huge positive impact onto the development of what we know a cell to be today.

The microscope has improved from many different designs the three most prominent being, a single lensed microscope (First saw bacteria and life in water), a light microscope (discovered cells, nucleus, vacuole, etc.) and the electron microscope (discovered nucleolus, ER etc.) Each microscope discovered smaller and smaller parts to the original cell and allowed us to observe better quality at lower magnifications. Computers and automated programs for microscopes have also improved the microscope to avoid human error. This improvement in microscopes was vital for the development of cell theory, because without being able to observe at a huge magnification through a screen we wouldnʼt easily be able to observe changing cells and old cells dividing into two etc. Stains such as iodine and new types of specimen presentation have also added to the development of cell theory and our understanding of cells. Stains like iodine allowing us to see chloroplast are a good example of how technology has improved our understanding, looking at different parts of specimens has also made our results more accurate with findings like specialized cells looking different and their not only just being 1 set type of cell. Technology has defined the present day view and theoryʼs of biology. With improvements in microscopes allowing us to see smaller cells more clearly, gives us more of an exact idea of what is really in a cell. Stains have also allowed us to see more parts of the cell and give us more information about what each part of the cell is for. Computers have also allowed us to record and share information with other biologistʼs more...
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