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cell

Pronunciation: sel

Definition:

  1. The smallest unit of living structure capable of independent existence, composed of a membrane-enclosed mass of protoplasm and containing a nucleus or nucleoid. Cells are highly variable and specialized in both structure and function, although all must at some stage replicate proteins and nucleic acids, use energy, and reproduce themselves.
  2. A small closed or partly closed cavity; a compartment or hollow receptacle.
  3. A container of glass, ceramic, or other solid material within which chemical reactions generating electricity take place or solutions are placed for photometric assays.

[L. cella, a storeroom, a chamber]

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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