GCSE Biology: Cell Division and the Cell Structure

5th April 2017

GCSE Biology revision

Cell division and cell cycle for the new syllabus - key points!


It is really important to understand the key elements of the cell cycle in order to understand how all living organisms function. In this blog we are going to cover DNA, chromosomes, genes and stem cells.


To begin, let’s take a look at DNA so that we can better understand what it is and how it relates to the cell:


DNA - they are large, complex molecules that, most importantly, carry genetic code. DNA determines the characteristics of a living organism - such as the hair and eye colour that a child will be born with. Essentially, DNA is unique to every organism and you can identify someone through their DNA


Chromosomes - chromosomes are found in the nucleus of a cell and these chromosomes are made up of DNA molecules. Each chromosome carries a large number of genes, so every chromosome is vitally important. In the human body, the chromosomes are normally found in pairs


Genes - this is a section of DNA that has an individual and specific code. This can be copy and pasted which is how certain characteristics can be passed from one generation to another


Stem cells - this is an undifferentiated cell which can give rise to many more cells. Stem cells from human embryos can be cloned and differentiated into most types of human cells. For example, cells from adult bone marrow can form many different types of cells including blood cells


Mitosis - this is a type of cell division. It occurs when more cells are needed. It produces two new cells that are identical to one another and identical to the parent cell. The process occurs like this:

→ chromosomes in the nucleus are copied

→ the chromatids are pulled apart and move towards poles

→ the chromosomes separate

→ the cell divides

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