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Abstract

Why Apoptosis is necessary

Author(s): Bella Brown

Cell death is a necessary aspect of proper growth and persists throughout adulthood. The human body is made up of roughly 1014 cells. Every day, billions of cells die to ensure that the entire organism functions properly. Only because cell division and cell death are perfectly balanced does the body size remain constant. Eventually, the term apoptosis was coined to characterise the morphological processes that lead to controlled cellular self-destruction, and it was first used by Kerr, Wyllie, and Currie in a journal. Apoptosis is a Greek word that means "falling off or dropping off," as in leaves falling from trees or petals falling from flowers. The death of living stuff is a fundamental and necessary element of the life cycle of organisms, as this comparison emphasises. The name was coined by John Kerr in 1972 2 and relates to a morphological trait of formation discovered more than a century before, in 1842. Over the last ten years, the number of papers on apoptosis has expanded dramatically, accounting for more than 2% of all papers published in the biological sciences. A chronology of cell death publications can be found. The revelation that many diseases include too much apoptosis (e.g., neuro, spinal muscular atrosphy, AIDS) or too little apoptosis (e.g., cancer (either by virus infection or by DNA alterations such as p53 and Bcl-2) or autoimmune diseases) sparked a huge interest in apoptosis (diabetes type I, encephalomyelitis). Apoptosis can be triggered by a variety of poisons and other cellular stressors (e.g., oxidative stress, alcohol).


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