How is the shape of a cell related to its function?


The shape of a cell dictates the function of that cell. This is more pertinent to animal cells that, unlike plant cells, do not have a rigid cell wall. A misshapen cell cannot properly perform its intended function.

Cells are the essential building blocks of all living things. Neurons are a prime example of a cell with a specific shape that perform a single but vital function. They are long and thin with many branches. They have a very distinctive appearance with a long, trailing axon with branches at the end and a neuron surrounded by branching dendrites. Their function is to carry electrical signals to and from the body and the brain.

Size as well as shape plays a crucial role in cell function. A cell must be big enough to contain all the essentials, which include DNA strands, protein, and survival and reproductive structures. However, the cell must be small enough to have a large enough surface area in relation to volume to absorb enough nutrients to support its functions and to dispose of waste products. Larger cells have a larger surface area. However, large cells have less surface area in relation to volume than their smaller counterparts.

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