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Unit 5: Cell Growth and Divison

Unit Overview

As cells grow they hit two limits: DNA and exchange limits. As a cell grows, the DNA cannot produce enough to maintain the cell. Also, as a cell grows, its volume increases faster than its surface area, meaning that it cannot keep up material exchange to the size of the cell. Thus, to solve these growth problems, the cell divides. Proliferating cells undergo cell cycle which is composed of G1, S, G2 and M phases. Resting cells are in G0. Cell cycle is controlled by cyclins and CDKs, when circumstances are not right, cell cycle checkpoints can be activated to restrain cell cycle. Mitosis is cell division, with an exact replication of the cell's DNA into a new clone cell. Mitosis has four stages: prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. All of these steps lead to separation of the duplicated DNA in order to give them to the new cell. After mitosis, cytokinesis splits the cell membranes and cytoplasm into two new identical cells.There are 4 major cell cycle checkpoints: G1 checkpoint, intra-S phase checkpoints, G2 checkpoints and spindle checkpoints. These are regulated by cyclins and kinases. When cell cycle checkpoints are broken or cell cycle goes wrong, cells may undergo apoptosis or become cancerous.

Big Ideas and Enduring Understandings 

The cells of multicellular organisms repeatedly divide to make more cells for growth and repair. During embryonic development, a single cell gives rise to a complex, multicellular organism through the processes of both cell division and differentiation.

Essential Questions 

Why do most cells spend a majority of their life span in G0 ?

Why do somatic cells undergo mitosis versus other types of cells?

If the cell cycle is not controlled, why do tumors develop?

Why are stem cells able to differentiate into specialized tissues?

Standard and Indicators

H.B.2D.1 Construct models to explain how the processes of cell division and cell differentiation produce and maintain complex multicellular organisms.
H.B.2D.2 Develop and use models to exemplify the changes that occur in a cell during the cell cycle (including changes in cell size, chromosomes, cell membrane/cell wall, and the number of cells produced) and predict, based on the models, what might happen to a cell that does not progress through the cycle correctly.
H.B.2D.3 Construct explanations for how the cell cycle is monitored by check point systems and communicate possible consequences of the continued cycling of abnormal cells.
H.B.2D.4 Construct scientific arguments to support the pros and cons of biotechnological applications of stem cells using examples from both plants and animals.