Explain how a chloroplast is like a solar panel, or how a mitochondrion is like a furnace.

When you look around at the world, you can see many examples that demonstrate how an object’s or a system’s structure relates to its function. The structure of a highway system, for example, can affect traffic flow. You can, no doubt, think of many other examples.

In this Discussion Board assignment, you will look at the structure of the most basic unit of life, the living cell. You will also investigate how the structures of cells are directly related to the functions that are important to life.

Part 1

Your text describes the difference between the organelles in a eukaryotic cell and the more simple structure of a prokaryotic cell as an analogy between the chief executive officer’s (CEO’s) corner office and a cubicle. Organelles are like appliances or pieces of furniture that perform specific functions. Choose 1 organelle, and use an analogy to explain its function. For example, explain how a chloroplast is like a solar panel, or how a mitochondrion is like a furnace. Try to think of original analogies for other organelles or cell structures such as golgi, lysosome, cell wall, cell membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, nucleus, and so on. Include how your analogy may be less than perfect. Compare your analogy with those of your classmates.

Part 2

You will read that only plants, algae, and some bacteria are photosynthetic. There is an exception to this, though. One species of sea slug has found a way to steal chloroplasts, store them in cells lining its digestive tract, and live on the sugar that is produced (Milius, 2010). What benefit would there be for animal cells (including those of humans) to make their own food? Could cell, tissue, or genetic engineering allow humans to use chloroplasts this way? Describe 1 or 2 factors that would need to be considered for chloroplasts to function in an animal or a human.

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