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Biology/Biology, cells, why division?


So if there are 3 cells, a 2x2x2 cube cell, a 4x4x4 cube cell, and an 8x8x8 cube cell, which of these cells would be best at bringing in and exporting materials for the cytoplasm that it has in it? Does it have to do with volume and surface area of each cube cell?

  Hi Leah
It is because of a math principle called the scale effect which state that as the size of the cell increases the surface are volume ratio decreases
Lets look your examples
 Cube 2mm (Lets  give it a unit number)
   side = 2 Surface area= 2x2x 6= 24 mm square
         Volume 2 cubed =       8 mm cubed  SA-Vol ratio 3 to 1

 Cube 4mm   Surface area  4x4x6 =96 mm square   ratio 0.6 to 1
         Volume 4 cubed       = 64  mm cubed

 I won't bother to do 8

What is important here
  All materials must move across the cell membrane. The larger the cell the greater the metabolic needs and the less the surface area for diffusion. The cell has to divide to meet the needs. This is why cells are so small


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Walter Hintz


Science teacher for over 50 years. MSc. in biology. I can answer questions in general biology, zoology, botany, anatomy and physiology and biochemistry.


I have a MSc in biology and have been a science teacher for over 50 years. At present I am a faculty member at a college and a science consultant at seven catholic schools.

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