Material for the intro that should be re-written using layman terms associated with the corresponding functions (transport, antennas, signals, receptors, transmitters, gates, etc).  Select the graphic images that are easier to describe in layman terms.


[Note that a big chunk of the material that was here has been moved to separate documents -in the shared drive- for review.]   


Biology in the Nineteenth Century: Problems of Form, Function and Transformation


A typical animal cell is 10–20 μm in diameter, which is about one-fifth the size of the smallest particle visible to the naked eye. It was not until good light microscopes became available in the early part of the nineteenth century that all plant and animal tissues were discovered to be aggregates of individual cells. This discovery, proposed as the cell doctrine by Schleiden and Schwann in 1838, marks the formal birth of cell biology.

Animal cells are not only tiny, they are also colorless and translucent. Consequently, the discovery of their main internal features depended on the , in the latter part of the nineteenth century, of a variety of stains that provided sufficient contrast to make those features visible. Similarly, the introduction of the far more powerful  in the early 1940s required the development of new techniques for preserving and staining cells before the full complexities of their internal fine structure could begin to emerge. To this day, microscopy depends as much on techniques for preparing the specimen as on the performance of the microscope itself. In the discussions that follow, we therefore consider both instruments and specimen preparation, beginning with the light microscope.

Figure 9-1 shows a series of images illustrating an imaginary progression from a thumb to a cluster of atoms. Each successive image represents a tenfold increase in magnification. The naked eye could see features in the first two panels, the resolution of the light microscope would extend to about the fourth panel, and the  to about the seventh panel. Some of the landmarks in the  of light microscopy are outlined in Table 9-1Figure 9-2 shows the sizes of various cellular and subcellular structures and the ranges of size that different types of microscopes can visualize.

The wacky history of cell theory


Cell History (updated)

This video is taught at the high school level. This video disucsses the history of cell, the Cell Theory, cell diversity, eukaryotes vs prokaryotes, and endosymbiosis. I use this PowerPoint in my biology class at Beverly Hills High School.


ONCE, it all seemed so beautifully simple. Our DNA, we thought, consisted of a set of recipes, or genes, for making proteins, and once we had identified them all and worked out what they do, we would be a long way towards understanding what makes us what we are.

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in many other ways our genome is turning out to be dizzyingly complex

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“It is very difficult to wrap your head around how big the genome is and how complicated,” says Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge, UK, who is part of a major project to uncover the workings of the genome. “It’s very confusing and intimidating.”

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For starters, rather than each gene coding for one protein, they often code for many. The coding parts of genes come in pieces, like beads on a string, and by splicing out different beads, or exons, after RNA copies are made, a single gene can potentially code for tens of thousands of different proteins, although the average is about five. Recent studies suggest up to 95 per cent of our genes may be alternatively spliced in this way. Even more astonishingly, in at least one case in humans, RNA copies of different genes are spliced together. If this is commonplace, it would vastly …

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Information overload

While the amount of information is growing exponentially, our understanding of it is not keeping pace. “The sequencing is going faster than we have people to analyse the data,” says anthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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