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Cellular respiration

Breaking down glucose (food) without oxygen to provide available energy for the cells. The glucose reacts with oxygen to produce energy in the form of ATP with carbon dioxide and water as waste products

Active transport

The process which uses energy to move substances against a concentration gradient or across a partially permeable membrane using a special transport protein.


Made up of many cells


A chromosome is like a packet of coiled up DNA. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. They are in the nucleus of every human cell.

Stem cell

Cells which can divide repeatedly without becoming differentiated and have the capacity to develop into a diverse range of specialised cell types.


The part of a cell that controls the cell function and contains the chromosomes.


A fertilised cell produced as the result of the combination of an ovum and a sperm.


The name for a group of cells that are developing into a fetus. In humans this is from implantation to the 8th week of development


A structure with a particular function which is made up of different tissues.

Body organisation - systems to cells to genes and DNA

Stained stem cells in an embryo
Stained stem cells in an embryo. These non-specialised cells will copy and develop into every type of cell in the body.
A baby

Humans are multicellular organisms. There are over a trillion cells in your body. They are specialised to do different jobs, even though they all came originally from just one single fertilised egg cell, or zygote. When fertilised, an egg cell copies itself to make two cells. This was your first experience of mitosis. Soon after, these two cells copy themselves to make four and so on. The process continues throughout your life to grow new cells and replace damaged ones.

The cells produced by this process, called cell division or mitosis, are all genetically identical. So each one of your trillion cells holds the same genetic information. This is contained in the DNA that is packaged into 23 pairs of chromosomes inside the nucleus of each body cell.

How is your body assembled?

Cells are specialised and arranged to work together to make a fully-functioning human. Use the animation to see how the body is built up of organ systems, tissues and cells. Look inside the cells to see the structure of chromosomes and the DNA that controls cell activities.

Question 1

Different parts of the cell carry out different functions. Look at the functions described in the table below. From the drop down list, choose the part of the cell that carries out each function.

Quiz Print
Part of cell
Controls the substances that can get in and out of the cell. It is also involved in active transport.
Contains the cell's DNA.
Is involved in the generation of energy during aerobic respiration.
Where many of the chemical reactions of the cell takes place.