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Compare the structures of a cell to those of a city. Although vast differences in size, organization and infrastructures seem alike, the cell and the city may share a lot in common.

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Cell City Cells are the basic units of life unique and sophisticated due to their different structures working together to achieve many functions. (1) All organisms comprise of tiny microscopic units. Some primitive organisms consist simply of one cell (unicellular). (3) Humans begin life as a single cell but grow into a vast complex structure of many different types (differentiated cells), (2) each performing specialised tasks, grouping into tissues then organs, organ systems and finally a complete organism. (3) A very different environment to this organic structure is a city, but closer analysis shows a similar trend in development. Cities begin small but are then grouped into provinces, countries, continents then earth. (4) Although vast differences in size, organization and infrastructures seem alike, the cell and the city may share a lot in common. One of the most important parts of an animal cell is its nucleus, working as a control centre for cellular operations. It contains the genetic information, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which is the blueprint for the cell. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) nucleotides use it to translate information into instructions for making new proteins. (5) This process of translation happens in the cytosol. DNA and RNA are large organic macromolecules located in the nucleoplasm and contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus. (3) The DNA strands give rise to complex structures known as chromosomes which are bound to proteins called histones forming a structure called chromatin. ...read more.


(10) Comparatively, the functions of ribosomes and RER to the structures within a city would be an industrial park with many factories working simultaneously to create and modify constituents, also a repository for particular materials. Transportation comes in the form of a fleet of cargo lorries or a railway service. (9) Another organelle similar to RER is smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) extended from the RER, also involved in synthesis and transport, however, it is the site of lipid and steroid production as it contains unique enzymes. (5) Smooth ER has a very significant relationship with other organelles because of its manufacture of phospholipids and cholesterol as they are needed for their growth and repair. (3) Significantly in a city this could be an important factory processing vital materials; for example, a pharmaceutical company with its manufacturing plant. (9) Within the ER, after synthesising proteins, the molecules are surrounded and packaged into little membrane sacs which then steals itself away from the organelle forming transport vesicles. (5) These vesicles arrive at a new organelle, the Golgi apparatus where the membranes fuse with each other. The Golgi is membrane bound and consists of many cisternae which are small long flattened sacs that bulge at the edges. Its functions are modifying and packaging of waste related products, substances required for exocytosis, phospholipids and enzymes needed in the cytosol. (10) Vesicles arrive at the entry face cisternae and materials enter its lumen where they are modified by enzymes as they move through the medial layers. ...read more.


Called transmembrane proteins they have many roles; they provide active transport, giving passage to selected cations, also they provide facilitated diffusion of particles or simply give structural support for the membrane. Another important feature of the cell membrane is cell recognition. (5) This is achieved by oligosaccharides located on glycoprotein or glycolipids which act as chemical markers that recognise particular substrates, for example hormones such as insulin and glucagon which regulate blood sugar. (10) This regulation of traffic and protection of a city would be a city wall, (6) but in today's modern society city walls are of historical value rather than protection. Passport control or customs and excise regulate entry. A slightly different example of a city boundary falls into the area of municipality for which the city hall has control, defined by a ring road or limits of electoral registers. (4) In this comparison it is evident that all the structures within a cell and a city have enormous similarities proving that all infrastructures are greatly dependant on the functions of others combining together to carry out a common goal or function. They each contain a border and limit of control where materials can be imported or exported. They are directed by a control centre to produce energy, manufacture, store and transport materials and dispose of waste. Although sitting at opposite ends of the universal scale these systems are remarkably similar in functionality and the processes they must carry out in order to exist. ...read more.

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The writer manages to coherently compare the structure, functions and fundamental metabolism of the cell to that of a city, drawing relevant analogies between a city and the cell. The writer manages to focus on the most important parts of ...

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Response to the question

The writer manages to coherently compare the structure, functions and fundamental metabolism of the cell to that of a city, drawing relevant analogies between a city and the cell. The writer manages to focus on the most important parts of the cell such as the mitochondria, the nucleus, the endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus and the cell membrane. Not only does the writer cover the biology behind these cell components, but also creatively compare these cell components to common features of a city. While these comparisons might seem obvious, the style of the writer in conveying this is humorous and also innovative as well.

Level of analysis

Definitely, the writer does a neat job in explaining the various components of the cell, the structures of these components and their functions to present a clear idea of cell metabolism. Further, the writer justifies the title of this report by drawing appropriate comparisons to amenities and services in a city. The depth and accuracy of the biology is reflected in the references the writer cites throughout the report, justifying the effort and immaculate research put in. Each cell component is accompanied by an image that illustrates the content covered regarding that particular component. The writer also does not drag off or be distracted into describing a city which will of course be too obvious but just mentions the analogy and instead maintains a clear focus on the biology. The writer makes smooth transitions in writing about each component and in executing this transition in a logical manner, the writer establishes the interdependence between the various organelles. Overall, the writer does not delve too much into the finer details but presents the relevant information in a clear and coherent manner.

Quality of writing

The language of the writer does not show any major flaws. Very few grammar errors are present and even these are not too glaring errors. The writer maintains a formal register required for this report, avoiding any colloquialisms though some clichéd statements could have been avoided. An important highlight of this report would be the content-wise organization of the report as the writer divides the report into different sections, each of which focus on a certain component of the cell. Even between these distinct sections, the writer weaves in links to ties up the report together. Overall, the writer has presented a very informative report on fundamental cell biology.

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