Cell Theory is one of the fundamental principles of biology. German scientists Matthias Schleiden, Theodor Schwann, and Rudolph Virchow have been given credit to the formulation of this theory. Cell theory states that all biological organisms are composed of either unicellular or multicellular cells. Cells are the basic unit of life, and all cells come from preexisting life. In 1839, Schwann and Schleiden formally articulated this theory. It has become the foundation of the modern biology.


1. The Formulation of the Cell Theory

In 1838, as Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann were taking an after-dinner coffee, they discussed their studies on cells. They found some similarities between the plant cells that Schleiden studied and the animal cells that Schwann had observed. Afterward, the two scientists Schwann's lab to closely monitor the samples. In 1839, Schwann published a book on plant and animal cells as he summarized the observations of his experiments in 3 tenets. Firstly, cells are the unit of structure, physiology, and organization in living organisms. Secondly, cells maintain a dual existence as a distinct unit and a building block in the construction of organisms. Finally, cells form by free-cell formation just as the formation of crystals. Rudolph Virchow later determined that the third tenet was wrong with his powerful dictum of "Omnis cellula e cellula" (All cells only arise from pre-existing cells).

Cell theory

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