Somatic cells meaning
What are somatic cells:
Somatic cells are those that are responsible for the formation of tissues and organs in multicellular living beings.
They derive from stem cells during embryonic development, for this reason they undergo a process of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, so these cells manage to differentiate and fulfill specific functions.
Somatic cells are the most numerous in organisms. Any cell in the body can be somatic except germ cells or gametes, that is, sperm and eggs. Germ cells are different due to meiosis.
Somatic cells are diploid and have genetic information in their nucleus. In humans, they are made up of 23 pairs of chromosomes, which is equal to 46 chromosomes.
Therefore, they all share the same genetic material that is obtained during fertilization: 50% from the mother and 50% from the father.
Also, somatic cells can multiply and maintain the same genetic information, but only a limited number of times until they are replaced by new cells. Hence, its main function is to ensure the proper functioning of the body.
Sometimes mutations of these cells occur, which can lead to various types of cancer.
Somatic cell characteristics
Below are the main characteristics of somatic cells.
- At their core they have genetic information.
- They are diploid cells, that is, they contain twice the chromosomes of the species. For him Homo sapiens, 23 pairs of chromosomes, which is equal to 46 chromosomes.
- Its shape and size vary according to its function and the system to which it belongs.
- They can form new tissue through cell division.
- In a limited way they can multiply and maintain the same genetic information.
- They regulate the proper functioning of the system where they are.
- These cells do not have the function or participate in the production of new cells other than themselves.