How long have we been able to study cells?



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    Cells are the individual units of function and reproduction that constitute all living organisms. Cytology, the study of cells, was first developed in 1665, by Robert Hooke, a British physicist. Hooke ‘discovered’ cells by using a homemade microscope to study an old wine cork. However, his studies did not conclusively determine that cells were the building blocks of life.

    That theory was begun nearly 200 years later, when a German botanist named Matthias Schleiden theorized that plants were made up of cells. In 1839, zoologist Theodore Schwann developed a similar theory for animals, and in 1858, Rudolph Virchow suggested that all cells originate from pre-existing cells.

    The work of these men constitutes what is known as “Modern Cell Theory,” which states that: all organisms are made up of cells; all chemical reactions that occur in organisms occur in cells; and all cells come from pre-existing cells. 

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