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Eukaryopolis - The city of animal cells

Hank tells us about the city of Eukaryopolis - the animal cell that is responsible for all the cool things that happen in our bodies. Created by EcoGeek.

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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user Daniel Hunter
    Referenceing , if it is true that all mitocondrial DNA can be traced back to a single "Eve" mitocondria and it doesn't combine with "father" mitocondrial DNA, does that mean that all mitocondria in the world are the same? How do variances occur?
    (113 votes)
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    • leafers sapling style avatar for user Peter Collingridge
      Mitochondria are not quite the same as one another, but they are fairly similar. Their DNA, like all DNA, undergoes mutations as a result of replication errors or damage through sunlight or free radicals.

      Since mitochondria are the site of oxidative respiration they generate a lot of free radicals. They also replicate independently and more frequently than the cells that contain them. This means they can accumulate quite a lot of errors and since there is no crossing with the father's mitochondrial DNA, there is no way to get rid of the errors. It is thought however, that there is some selection process that reduces the chance of damaged mitochondria getting into the egg.

      The prediction of when the common ancestor of all mitochondria (Eve) existed was derived by observing the rate of mutation in mitochondria and seeing how much variance there is between the DNA in mitochondria from a wide range of people, then calculating how long it would take for so much variance to be generated.
      (114 votes)
  • leafers tree style avatar for user uwe.stange
    How is mitochondrial DNA transmitted from parent to child?
    (15 votes)
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    • female robot grace style avatar for user 00015651
      Mitochondrial DNA is present on both eggs and sperm. The eggs have a million or so mitochondrial DNA while the sperm have very little. This is why when the sperm enters the egg it loses all mitochondrial DNA and thus the mother is the only parent that gives mitochondrial DNA to the child.
      (20 votes)
  • spunky sam blue style avatar for user Naimish
    at around , Hank says that our dna can be traced back to a Eve in africa. what does that mean?
    (10 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Just Keith
      That is a reference to Mitochondrial Eve, not to be confused with the character in the Bible named Eve.

      Because we inherit our mitochondrial DNA only from our mothers it is possible to track lines of descent, since the only way mitochondrial DNA changes in a line of descent is through mutation, not through mating.

      Anyway, by testing indigenous people from all over the world it was possible to backtrack the migrations people took over human history to where we appear to have originated. That appears to be in East Africa between 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

      There is a good summary of this research project on Wikipedia.
      (13 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Rishabh saxena
    sperm has got its mitochondria in its neck which powers it to reach till egg... so why does only mothers mitochondia only gets inherited even when sperm has it..??
    (6 votes)
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    • piceratops sapling style avatar for user Roste1
      When the sperm enters the egg, the tail part that contains the mitochondria literally stays on the outside of the egg. This process is called 'acrosome reaction' (you can wiki it for a nice figure). Basically the membranes of the sperm cell and the egg cell fuse, and allow the nucleus of the sperm cell to enter the egg, but the old cell membrane of the sperm cell (including the part that contains the mitochondria) remains fused to the outside and will never enter the egg.
      (9 votes)
  • old spice man green style avatar for user Anishram Nelluri
    what is sickle cell anaemia
    (2 votes)
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    • hopper cool style avatar for user Julia Nilsson
      Sickle-cell anemia is a genetic disease where the blood cells aren't in their correct doughnut-like shape, and they are more of a crescent moon (or sickle) shape. They can't carry oxygen very well. People with sickle-cell anemia are usually tired, or dizzy, and it can be painful in the heart.
      (6 votes)
  • starky tree style avatar for user Gunjankumar
    Number of chromosomes in an organism depends upon which factor?
    (3 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user faiz khalid
    does golgi bodies or mitochondri do digestion of food
    (3 votes)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Chairmanao
      Golgi bodies are used for packing and sending proteins that the cell may secrete.
      Once the complex sugars in food is broken down to glucose, it can undergo respiration in the mitochondria, which produces the ATP that will power many of the body's metabolism. Digestion refers to the breakdown of food into smaller components, which produces the glucose that mitochondria will use, but digestion itself does not occur in mitochondria or golgi bodies.
      (4 votes)
  • starky ultimate style avatar for user yisakcla
    Why does mitochondria need DNA?
    (3 votes)
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    • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Chromium
      To add on to Angel Chupungco's answer, mitochondria were once separate cells, but were consumed by another cell and function as a powerhouse to all modern eukaryotic cells. They still retain some factors that make them different, such as containing slight amounts of their own DNA and reproducing independently.
      An interesting advantage to this is that mitochondria are actually created depending on demand; for instance, if you exercise more and therefore need more energy, more mitochondria are created. For this, mitochondria need to independently divide and thus, they contain their own DNA.
      (4 votes)
  • starky ultimate style avatar for user Wayne Burris
    What is the evolutionary cost/benefit for an organism to have more or less chromosomes?
    (3 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Daenerys
    What is a rough and smooth ER? I do not entirely get it. Thanks!
    (3 votes)
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Video transcript

- This is an animal, and this is also an animal, and animal, animal, animal carcass, animal, animal, animal carcass again, animal. The thing that all of these other things have in common is that they're made out of the same basic building block, the animal cell. (upbeat, lively music) Animals are made up of your run-of-the-mill eukaryotic cells, and these are called eukaryotic because they have a true kernel in the Greek, a good nucleus, and that contains the DNA and calls the shots for the rest of the cell. Also containing a bunch of organelles. There's a bunch of different kinds of organelles, and they all have very specific functions and all of this is surrounded by the cell membrane. Of course, plants are eukaryotic cells too, but they're set up a little bit differently. Of course, they have organelles that allow them to make their own food, which is super nice. We don't have those. And also their cell membrane is actually a cell wall. It's made of cellulose. It's rigid, which is why plants can't dance. If you wanna know all about plant cells, we did a whole video on it, and you can click on it here, if it's online yet. It might not be. A lot of stuff in this video is going to apply to all eukaryotic cells, which includes plants and fungi and protists. Now, rigid cell walls that's cool and all, but one of the reasons that animals have been so successful is that their flexible membrane, in addition to allowing them the ability to dance, gives animals the flexibility to create a bunch of different cell types and organ types and tissue types that could never be possible in a plant. The cell walls that protect plants, and give them structure prevent them from evolving complicated nerve structures and muscle cells that allow animals to be such a powerful force for, you know, eating plants. Animals can move around, find shelters and food, find things to mate with. All that good stuff. In fact, the ability to move oneself around using specialized muscle tissue has been 100% trademarked by kingdom animalia. - [Man] Ah, what about protozoans? - Excellent point. What about protozoans? They don't have specialized muscle tissue. They move around with cilia and flagella and that kind of thing. So way back, in 1665, British scientist Robert Hooke discovered cells with his kind of crude, beta version microscope. He called them cells because they looked like bare spartan monks bedrooms with not much going on inside. Hooke was a smart guy and everything, but he could not have been more wrong about what was going on inside of a cell. There is a whole lot going on inside of a eukaryotic cell. It's more like a city than a monk's cell. In fact, let's go with that. A cell is like a city. It has defined geographic limits, of rule in government, power plants roads, waste treatment plants, a police force, industry, all the things a booming metropolis needs to run smoothly, but this city does not have one of those hippy governments where everybody votes on stuff and talks this out at town hall meetings and crap like that. Nope, think fascist Italy circa 1938. Think Kim Jong-il's, no I mean Kim Jong-un's North Korea, and you might be getting a closer idea of how eukaryotic cells do their business. Let's start with city limits. So as you approach the city of eukaryopolis, there is a chance that you will noticE something that a traditional city never has, which is either cilia or flagella. Some eukaryotic cells have either one or the other of these structured cilia being a bunch of tiny, little arms that wiggle around and flagella being one long whiplike tail. Some cells have neither. Sperm cells, for instance, have flagella, and our lungs and throat cells have cilia that push mucus up and out of our lungs. Cilia and flagella are made out of long protein fibers called microtubules, and they both have the same basic structure. Nine pairs of microtubules forming a ring around two central microtubules. This is often called the nine plus two structure. Anyway, that's just do you know, when you're approaching the city, watch out for the cilia and flagella. IF you make it past the cilia, you will encounter what is called a cell membrane, which is a kind of squishy not rigid plant cell wall, which totally encloses the city and all of its contents. It's also in charge of monitoring what comes in and out of the cell, kind of like the fascist border police. The cell membrane has selective permeability meaning that it can choose what molecules Come in and out of the cells for the most part, and I did an entire video on this, which you can check out right here. Now the landscape of eurkaryopolis important to note is kind of wet and squishy. It's a bit of swampland. Each eukaryotic cell is filled with a solution of water and nutrients called cytoplasm, and inside of this cytoplasm is a scaffolding called the cytoskeleton. It's basically just a bunch of protein strands that reinforce the cell. Centrosomes are a special part of this reinforcement. They assemble long microtubules out of proteins that act like steel girders that hold all the city's buildings together. The cytoplasm provides the infrastructure necessary for all the organelles to all of their awesome, amazing business with the notable exception of the nucleus, which has its own kind of cytoplasm called the nucleoplasm, which is a more luxurious premium environment befitting the cell's beloved leader, but we'll get to that in a minute. First, let's talk about the cell's highway system. The endoplasmic reticulum, or just ER, are organelles that create a network of membranes that carry stuff around the cell. These membranes are phospolipid bilayers same as in the cell membrane. There are two type of ER. There's the rough and the smooth, fairly similar but slightly different shapes, slightly different functions. The rough ER looks all bumpy because it has ribosomes attached to it and the smooth ER doesn't, so it's a smooth network of tubes. Smooth ER acts as a kind of factory warehouse in the cell's city. It contains enzymes that help with the creation of important lipids, which you'll recall from our talk about biological molecules. Eh yeah, phospholipids and steroids that turn out to be sex hormones. Other enzymes in the smooth ER specialize in detoxifying substances like noxious stuff derived from drugs and alcohol, which they do by adding a carboxyl group to them making them soluble in water. Finally, the smooth ER also stores ions and solutions that the cell may need later on especially sodium ions, which are used for energy and muscle cells. So the smooth ER helps make lipids while the rough ER helps in the synthesis and packaging of proteins, and those proteins are created by another type of organelle, the ribosomes. Ribosomes can float freely throughout the cytoplasm or be attached to the nuclear envelope, which is where they're spat out from, and they're job is to assemble amino acids into polypeptides. As the ribosomes builds an amino acid chain, the chain is pushed into the ER. When the protein chain is complete, the ER pinches it off and sends it to the Golgi apparatus. In the city that in the cell, the Golgi is the post office processing proteins, and packaging them up before sending them wherever they need to go. Calling it an apparatus makes it sound like a bit of complicated machinery, which is kind of is because it's made up of like these stacks of membranous layers that are sometimes Golgi bodies. The Golgi bodies can cut up large proteins into smaller hormones, and can combine proteins with carbohydrates to make various molecules like, for instance, snot. The bodies package these little goodies into sacks called vessicles, which have phospholipid walls just like the main cell membrane, then ship them out to either to other parts of the cell or outside the cell wall. We learn more about how vessicles do this in the next episode of Crash Course. The Golgi bodies also put the finishing touches on the lysosomes. Lyosomes are basically the waste treatment plants and recycling centers of the city. These organelles are basically sacks full of enzymes that breakdown cellular waste and debris from outside of the cell and turn it into simple compounds, which are transferred into the cytoplasm as new cell building materials. Now, finally, let us talk about the nucleus, the beloved leader. The nucleus is a highly specialized organelle that lives in its own double-membraned high-security compound with its buddy the nucleolus, and within the cell the nucleus is in charge in a major way because it stores the cell's DNA. It has all the information the cell needs to do its job. So the nucleus makes all the laws for the city, and orders all the other organelles round telling them how and when to grow, what to metabolize, what proteins to synthesize, how and when to divide. The nucleus does all of this by using the information blueprinted in its DNA to build proteins that will facilitate a specific job getting done. For instance, on January 1st 2012, let's say a liver cell needs to help breakdown an entire bottle of champagne. The nucleus in that liver cell would start telling the cell to make alcohol dehydrogenase, which is the enzyme that makes alcohol not alcohol anymore. This protein synthesis business is complicated. Lucky for you, we will have, or may already have, an entire video about how it happens. The nucleus holds its precious DNA along with some proteins in a web-like substance called a chromatin. When it comes time for the cell to split, the chromatin gathers into rod shaped chromosomes each of which holds DNA molecules. Different species of animals have different numbers of chromosomes. We humans have 46. Fruitflies have eight. Hedgehogs, which are adorable, but you know less complex than humans have 90. Now the nucleolus, which lives inside of the nucleus is the only organelle not enveloped by its own membrane. It's just a gooey, splotch of stuff within the nucleus. It's main job is creating ribosomal RNA, or rRNA, which it then combines with some proteins to form the basic units of ribosomes. Once these units are done, the nucleolus spits them out of the nuclear envelope where they are fully assembled into ribosomes. The nucleus then sends orders in the form of messenger RNA or mRNA to those ribosomes, which are the henchmen that carry out the orders in the rest of the cell. How exactly the ribosomes do this is immensely complex and awesome. So awesome, in fact, that we're going to give it the full Crash Course treatment, an entire episode. And, now for what is a totally objectively speaking, of course, the coolest part of the animal cell, its power plants, the mitochondria. The smooth, oblong organelles where the amazing and super important process of respiration takes place. This is where energy is derived from carbohydrates, fat and other fuels and is converted into adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is like the main currency that drives in eurkaryopolis, and you can learn more about ATP and respiration in an episode that we did on that. Now, of course, some cells like muscle cells or neuron cells need a lot more power than the average cell in the body, and so those cells have a lot more mitochondria per cell, but maybe the coolest thing about mitochondria is that long ago, animal cells didn't have them, but they existed as their own sort of bacterial cell. And one day one of these ended up inside of an animal cell, probably because the animal cell was trying to eat it, but instead of eating it, it realized that this thing was really super smart and good at turning food into energy and it just kept it. It stayed around. And to this day they sort of act like their own separate organisms like they do their own thing within the cell. They replicate themselves. They even contain a small amount of DNA. Now, it maybe even more awesome, if that's possible, is that mitochondria are in the egg cell when an egg gets fertilized, and those mitochondria have DNA, but because mitochondria replicate themselves in a separate fashion, it doesn't get mixed with the DNA of the father. It's just the mother's mitochondrial DNA. That means that your and my mitochondrial DNA is exactly the same as the mitochondrial DNA of our mothers and because this special DNA is isolated in this way, scientists can actually track back and back and back and back to a single mitochondrial Eve, who lived about 200,000 years ago in Africa. All of that complication and mystery and beauty in one of the cells of your body. It's complicated yes, but worth understanding.