Asked about: Cell Biology

why most cells are small?


Alexa M. Gree, helpful

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Brian Monetti, Science is Awesome!

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Cells tend to be small because it allows their surface area to be large compared to their volume. If cells were very large, their surface area to volume would be much lower. This comes from the geometry equations of surface area and volume. You can approximate cells to be spheres, in which case the volume will be (4/3)pir^3 and their surface area will be 4pir^2. You can try different cell sizes in these equations to see how the surface area to volume changes. Cells need a high surface area in order to take in nutrients and expel waste. Therefore, they tend to remain small in order to have a high surface area to volume ratio.

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