What Is Cytology?


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Cytology refers to the branch of science that focuses on studying anatomy and function of the cells – the basic building blocks of life. The name was coined from Greek word 'kytos' implying 'cavity'.

Cytology is based on the principle employed by cell theory initially developed during 1839. It states that all organisms are built up with basic units known as cells. Moreover, the cells have the ability to pass hereditary traits through generation to generation by means of dividing it into further cells. Cell division, hence, is a process through which cell grows, divides and dies in a regular interval of time. Cells also perform biochemical reaction which eventually enables them to store and transmit energy as well as to store and retrieve genetic data down to further generations of cells.

The essential tools used in cytological research include electron microscope, contrast microscopy, radio-active isotopes and high speed centrifuges. Cytological researches are beneficial in determining the characteristics of various hereditary diseases as well as chromosomal structure of various plants and animals in order to help them in their breeding. However, over time the essentiality of cytology as a separate form of science has not been so well recognized, whereas, two branches cytogenetics and cytochemistry have been evolved to create a more inclusive biological-chemical approach.

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