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Is a cell wall alive?
Question Date: 2016-04-21
Answer 1:

If you took a cell wall and put it in a container with food and water, it would never reproduce or do any of the functions associated with life. A cell wall is basically a hard sugary coating on the outside of plant, bacterial, and some fungal cells. Its function is primarily to maintain the shape of the cell and protect it from various kinds of damage.

The key principle is that the smallest unit of life is the cell. Therefore, tissues are living because they are made of cells and organs are living because they are made of tissues.

But anything that makes up a cell necessarily has to not be alive. So all of the organelles in a cell like the nucleus, mitochondria, and endoplasmic reticulum are all non-living. It’s only when all of the parts of a cell come together to make a cell that you have a functional living entity.

Answer 2:

No, the cell itself is alive, but the wall is made out of stuff like cellulose. Have you ever just chewed and chewed on celery and can break it down? That’s cellulose. Thanks for asking,

Answer 3:

Technically a cell wall is not alive. Biologists generally agree that for something to be considered “alive” it must 1) independantly reproduce 2) use energy and produce waste 3) grow. The cell wall is just one component of the cell that together produce the plant. The plant is alive but not the cell wall.

Answer 4:

Unfortunately, the cell wall is dead. Cell walls are only found in the plant cells. They are made out of a non-living cellulose so that we say the cell wall is dead.

Answer 5:

Life is a chemical reaction, and cell walls are generally less involved in a cell's chemical reactions than the rest of the cell, but they do serve functions, can be metabolized, and otherwise perform biological functions. In general, English language definitions of what constitutes living versus non-living matter tends to break down below the cellular level.

Answer 6:

No, the cell wall isn't alive without the cell in it.

That's what's amazing about life - it's made of all these not-living parts that come together to make something living. I study the question of how that happened on the early earth, and I think it might have happened in the spaces between sheets of mica, the shiny mineral that you can peel apart into thin sheets.


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