MadSci Network: Development

Re: What are the cell determinant factors in plants?

Area: Development
Posted By: Dave Williams, faculty,Anne Arundel Community College
Date: Fri Jun 27 09:01:33 1997
Area of science: Development
ID: 855524914.Dv

This is a tall order. Your question is, understandably, vague. The term "cell determinant factors" is not well defined as far as I know. Your clarification "What chemicals determine what cells are developed..." helps a great deal, however, to see what you are asking.

The answer is a resounding: "They are too many to list." We must begin with the nucleic acids, the DNA. Coded in these molecules are the instructions for the manufacture by the cell of all the needed proteins, especially enzymes. The enzymes govern the rate and (given that most of the important reactions would happen so slowly as to be inconsequential without them) very existence of the chemical reactions which build the cells. In very few cases have specific molecules been identified that are in some way as pivotal as you expect them to be. To list examples would only add to your uncertainty and and confound you at your current state of understanding. Certainly the DNA and the enzymes can be isolated. Many types have been already.

Extrapolated to humans, the work with DNA and enzymes could, indeed, lead to the necessary technology for the cloning of human body parts for transplant. The recent sheep cloning efforts are a great step in this direction. The critical activities revolve around getting the specific kind of DNA into the proper environment for development.

I must admit that at first, your question daunted me. How to answer such a far- reaching question? But it is clear to me that you are a very curious young person. Please accept my encouragement to continue your education in biology. Some day the dream of perfect human health and longevity will be attained by the hard work of those who are now young, many of whom have not yet been born! How about an orange with a really thin peel that is easy to remove? That is possible with less advanced technology.

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