Science & Technology in Action

3rd Edition

Tissue Culture and its Applications


Skin tissue can now be cultured and used for the treatment of skin damage such as extensive burns.
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Lesson excerpt

Cells are the building blocks of life. A tissue is a group of similar cells performing a specific function and an organ is a group of tissues performing a specific function.

What are the different types of tissue? 
There are many different types of tissue in both animals and plants, each with very different functions. 
In humans, there are four main types of tissue:

Epithelial tissue – layers of cells that cover organ surfaces such as the surface of the skin or the inner lining of the digestive tract. Epithelial tissues serve for protection, secretion, and absorption. 

Connective tissue – as the name suggests, connects, binds or separates tissues and organs e.g. blood and bone.

Muscle tissue – specialised groups of cells that can contract and exert a pulling force. There are three type of muscle tissue: smooth muscle, which is found in the inner linings of organs; skeletal muscle, which is attached to articulated bones and facilitates movement; and cardiac muscle – the muscle tissue of the heart. 

Nervous tissue – cells forming the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. It consists of neurons, which transmit electrical impulses and neuroglia, which are non-neuronal cells that aid and participate in the rapid transfer of signals around the body. 

Plant tissues can be divided into three broad tissue types, which together are often referred to as biomass.

Dermal tissue – the outermost layer of cells forming the outer surface of the leaves and of the young plant body.

Vascular tissue – consists of cells that transport fluid and nutrients within the plant. The primary components of vascular tissue are xylem and phloem.  

Ground tissue – tissue whose primary function is the manufacture of nutrients by photosynthesis; it can also and store nutrients. Ground tissue develops from the meristem and consists of the parenchyma, collenchyma and sclerenchyma cells. 

True or False?

  1. The average human body contains 1012 cells? false
  2. The three types of plant tissue are together referred to as biomass? true
  3. The skin is composed of four primary layers? false
  4. “In vitro” means “inside the body”? false
  5. The culturing of tissue pieces is known as implant culture? true
  6. A growth medium can be liquid, solid or semi-solid? true
  7. Trypsin is an example of an enzyme used to dissolve the extracellular matrix? true
  8. Biodegradability is not a useful property of a scaffold? false
  9. Culture conditions must be exactly the same for each cell type? false
  10. Epidermal cells are also known as keratinocytes? true
  11. Skin allografts use the patient’s own cells? false
  12. Cartilage is self-regenerative? false