Meaning of Somatic Cells

What are somatic cells?

Somatic cells are those that They are responsible for the formation of tissues and organs in multicellular living beings..

They derive from stem cells during embryonic development, therefore they undergo a process of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, so these cells they manage to differentiate themselves 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 they 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.

Likewise, 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.

Characteristics of somatic cells

The main characteristics of somatic cells are presented below.

  • At their core they have genetic information.
  • They are diploid cells, that is, they contain twice the chromosomes of the species. For him Homo sapiens23 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 located.
  • These cells do not have the function or participate in the production of new cells different from themselves.
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See also Cell.

examples of somatic cells

somatic cell-neuron

Neurons are a type of somatic cell of vital importance in the nervous system.

Here are some examples of somatic cells:

  • Epithelial cells: are those that form a tissue that makes up the skin and mucous membranes.
  • Neurons: cells that make up brain tissue, spinal cord and nerve endings.
  • muscle cells: those that make up the muscles.
  • erythrocytes: also known as red blood cells, are those cells that are provided with hemoglobin and transport oxygen.
  • leukocytes: also known as white blood cells, they are cells that protect the body from external agents, so they are part of the immune system.
  • Bone cells: they include osteoblasts (bone formation), osteoclasts (reabsorption of calcium in bone and cartilage), and osteocytes (bone regeneration).
  • Liver cells: They are responsible for the detoxification of compounds and drugs that reach the bloodstream, they produce the proteins responsible for the coagulation process and they produce the acids and bile salts that allow the absorption of lipids and fats in the intestine.
  • Intestinal cells: also known as enterocytes, are those that are responsible for the absorption of nutrients and water from food throughout the small intestine and large intestine.