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Animal cells are the cells found in animals.
You are made up of trillions of animal cells.
These are the basic parts of an animal cell:
|Cell Membrane: A cell membrane works like a screen. It lets the good things in like nutrients and lets the bad things out like waste. It is like a sieve.|
|Cytoplasm: Cytoplasm is the jelly-like part of the cell where the action takes place. It is where the nutrients are used.|
|Nucleus: The nucleus is the brain of the cell. It controls the cell, and tells it what to do. The nucleus also contains the DNA which is like a blueprint. A blueprint is a plan that people use when they build. A cell's blueprint is the plan the cell uses when it reproduces.|
One of the most important ways that animal cells are different from plant cells is that animal cells can't make their own food. Plant cells make their own food in a process called photosynthesis. Animal cells can't do that. Instead, animals must eat food. The animal cells use the food to make the energy they need to reproduce and carry out basic functions. This process takes place in a part of the cell called the mitochondrion.
If you would like to see an actual photograph of a pig cell or of mitochondrion viewed through the lens of an electron microscope, visit the Nanoworld Image Gallery ( you'll need to register in order to view the gallery).