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Compare and Contrast Key Features of Cell Specialisation

In this worksheet, students will compare specialised cells and their functions.

'Compare and Contrast Key Features of Cell Specialisation' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   Biology: Single Subject, Biology: Combined Science

GCSE Boards:   Pearson Edexcel

Curriculum topic:   Key Concepts in Biology

Curriculum subtopic:   Key Concepts in Biology

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Living things or organisms are made up of cells. Some organisms may be made up of just a single cell (unicellular) like bacteria, whereas others are made up of many cells like a plant. Some cells have particular jobs they need to carry out and are called specialised cells.  We will be looking into this more closely below!

 

Picture of a sperm cell

 

Sperm cell The job or function of the sperm cell is to fertilise an egg cell. The head of the sperm cell, called the acrosome, contains enzymes which help the sperm cell to break down the outer membrane of the egg cell and then penetrate the egg cell. Once it penetrates the egg, the genetic material in the haploid sperm cell can combine with the genetic material of the haploid egg cell. This is known as fertilisation and forms a diploid zygote. Eggciting stuff! The sperm cell is also suited to its job by having a tail to allow it to swim towards the egg. It uses the energy produced from respiration in the mitochondria to power the tail.

 

Image of an egg cell

 

Egg cell   Similar to the sperm cell, the nucleus of the egg cell is also haploid. This means that when it's fertilised by the sperm cell, the zygote which is formed will get a full set of chromosomes (46) and be referred to as diploid. The cytoplasm of the egg cell contains lots of nutrients. This is essential for the early growth of the embryo. Once fertilisation occurs, the cell membrane of the egg becomes impermeable, so it doesn't allow any more sperm to enter the egg cell and interfere with the growth of the embryo.

Egg and sperm cells are sex cells and are referred to as gametes.

 

Image of a ciliated cell

 

Ciliated epithelial cells   They have tiny hair-like projections called cilia that move in a wave-like motion. These cells are usually found in our breathing passages like our trachea and nose. The cilia sweep mucus, dust, and bacteria up our trachea where it can be swallowed or spat out. Lovely! The stomach contains strong acid which can destroy the bacteria trapped in the mucus. This is just one clever example of how our body protects itself from pathogens.

 

In the following activity, you will be asked to compare and contrast the key features of specialised cells.

The sperm cell is an example of a haploid cell. When it fertilises an egg, a diploid cell is formed.

 

What does diploid mean?

 

Picture of a sperm cell

A full set of chromosomes, 46 in humans

Half the full set of chromosomes, 23 in human sperm and egg

The fusing of the haploid sperm nuclei with the haploid egg nuclei

Cells with a complete set have 46 chromosomes in total. Some sperm or egg cells may randomly receive an extra chromosome during formation.

 

How many chromosomes will this sperm or egg cell have?

 

Image of 47 chromosomes

47

24

23

Sperm cells and ciliated cells both contain mitochondria.

 

Which process occurs in the mitochondria and why's it so important for the function of these cells?

The process of respiration occurs in the mitochondria

The process of digestion occurs in the mitochondria

Respiration releases energy for sperm and cilia movement

Respiration releases nutrients for sperm and cilia movement

Compare the key features of sperm and egg cells.

 

Select words from this list to fill the gaps in the text below:

 

cytoplasm

grow

diploid

fertilised

larger

chromosomes

haploid

tail

membrane

acrosome

prevent

The process of respiration occurs in the mitochondria

The process of digestion occurs in the mitochondria

Respiration releases energy for sperm and cilia movement

Respiration releases nutrients for sperm and cilia movement

The acrosome, found in the head of the sperm cell, contains enzymes.

 

What are enzymes and how do they help the sperm cell to do its job?

 

Picture of a sperm cell

Enzymes are chemicals that slow down reactions

Enzymes are proteins that speed up a reaction

Enzymes are carbohydrates that speed up a reaction

The enzymes break down the outer membrane of the egg

The enzymes provide energy for movement

The enzymes break down the egg cell

Infertility in males may occur because of sperm abnormalities. Some of the sperm may have an abnormal tail, such as being too short and crooked.

 

Explain why this abnormality can lead to infertility.

The short, crooked tail allows it to swim towards the egg cell at a normal pace

The short, crooked tail allows the sperm cell to swim faster than normal towards the egg cell

The short, crooked tail stops the tail from moving as fast towards the egg

Compare the structures of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

 

Picture of a sperm cell             Image of an egg cellImage of a ciliated cell

 

 Sperm cellEgg cellCiliated cell
Haploid
Diploid
Tail
Nutrient stores
Cilia
Acrosome
Mitochondria for movement
Impermeable membrane

Our body has special cells with hair-like structures called cilia that sweep mucus and bacteria out of our airways. The mucus is often directed to our stomachs.

 

What happens to the mucus in our stomachs?

 

Image of a ciliated cell

Stomach acid will destroy any bacteria trapped in the mucus

The stomach will store the mucus and trapped bacteria

The stomach will mix the bacteria with our food, weakening the bacteria

The egg and sperm cells are known as sex cells.

 

What is another name for the sex cells?

 

 

Image of egg and sperm cell

In some females, two egg cells may be released at once from the ovary (instead of just one egg cell).

 

If each of these egg cells become fertilised by separate sperm cells, what may result?

Identical twins

Non-identical twins

No twins

  • Question 1

The sperm cell is an example of a haploid cell. When it fertilises an egg, a diploid cell is formed.

 

What does diploid mean?

 

Picture of a sperm cell

CORRECT ANSWER
A full set of chromosomes, 46 in humans
EDDIE SAYS
There are some challenging words to get your head around in this topic, so don't be afraid to take time to consider carefully, and go back to check out the Introduction once more if you're stuck. When the genetic material of a haploid sperm cell combines with the genetic material of a haploid egg cell, a diploid zygote is formed. The zygote will have the full 46 chromosomes and, eventually, it will grow to be an unborn baby.
  • Question 2

Cells with a complete set have 46 chromosomes in total. Some sperm or egg cells may randomly receive an extra chromosome during formation.

 

How many chromosomes will this sperm or egg cell have?

 

Image of 47 chromosomes

CORRECT ANSWER
24
EDDIE SAYS
A bit of maths for you! All body cells have 46 chromosomes. Sperm and egg cells have half of that, which is 23 chromosomes. During egg and sperm formation, chromosomes may separate unevenly and an egg or sperm cell may accidentally receive an extra chromosome. This is called aneuploidy (sounds like an-yoo-ploy-dee). This will give the cell 23 + 1 = 24 chromosomes.
  • Question 3

Sperm cells and ciliated cells both contain mitochondria.

 

Which process occurs in the mitochondria and why's it so important for the function of these cells?

CORRECT ANSWER
The process of respiration occurs in the mitochondria
Respiration releases energy for sperm and cilia movement
EDDIE SAYS
These questions are getting tougher, aren't they? If you're not sure which options to choose, think about the meaning of words such as respiration and nutrients. Mitochondria in both the sperm and ciliated cells supply energy from respiration. Sperm cells use energy to move their tails to swim towards the egg cell, whereas ciliated cells use energy to move their cilia in order to waft mucus along our airways. It makes sense when you think about it.
  • Question 4

Compare the key features of sperm and egg cells.

 

Select words from this list to fill the gaps in the text below:

 

cytoplasm

grow

diploid

fertilised

larger

chromosomes

haploid

tail

membrane

acrosome

prevent

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Phew, that was a lot of filling in the blanks to do. Did you get them all correct? The egg and sperm cells have haploid nuclei in common. Other features such as a powerful tail and an acrosome containing enzymes, are unique to the sperm cell - the egg cell won't have these features. The egg cell, however, does have a large cytoplasm with lots of useful nutrients to supply the growing zygote with. The egg's membrane forms a barrier to stop further sperm from entering - these features are unique to the egg cell. It is very important to know and understand the significance of the similarities and differences between these two types of cells.
  • Question 5

The acrosome, found in the head of the sperm cell, contains enzymes.

 

What are enzymes and how do they help the sperm cell to do its job?

 

Picture of a sperm cell

CORRECT ANSWER
Enzymes are proteins that speed up a reaction
The enzymes break down the outer membrane of the egg
EDDIE SAYS
There were a lot of options to sift through here on your first question. Did you find both the correct answers? Enzymes are found in our body. They're biological catalysts made of protein that speed up a reaction. Without them, all our bodily reactions would happen at a slower rate. The acrosome also helps by using its enzymes to break down the outer membrane of the egg. The sperm cell can now enter the egg cell and fertilisation can happen.
  • Question 6

Infertility in males may occur because of sperm abnormalities. Some of the sperm may have an abnormal tail, such as being too short and crooked.

 

Explain why this abnormality can lead to infertility.

CORRECT ANSWER
The short, crooked tail stops the tail from moving as fast towards the egg
EDDIE SAYS
All these options were to do with the movement of the sperm but which one was about making movement harder? It was the third option! Male infertility can be caused by a number of reasons, one of them being sperm cells being deformed. Sperm cells rely on their long, powerful tails to swim quickly towards the egg cell. If the tail of a sperm cell is deformed, it will slow down the sperm's speed so that it might not be able to fertilise the egg.
  • Question 7

Compare the structures of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

 

Picture of a sperm cell             Image of an egg cellImage of a ciliated cell

 

CORRECT ANSWER
 Sperm cellEgg cellCiliated cell
Haploid
Diploid
Tail
Nutrient stores
Cilia
Acrosome
Mitochondria for movement
Impermeable membrane
EDDIE SAYS
The final question is acting as a bit of revision of all the cell features that you've been looking at in this activity. It shows a quick summary of the main features of egg, sperm and ciliated cells - so you need to know it well! Another activity completed - well done!
  • Question 8

Our body has special cells with hair-like structures called cilia that sweep mucus and bacteria out of our airways. The mucus is often directed to our stomachs.

 

What happens to the mucus in our stomachs?

 

Image of a ciliated cell

CORRECT ANSWER
Stomach acid will destroy any bacteria trapped in the mucus
EDDIE SAYS
So, this is testing your knowledge of the digestive system and, specifically, the stomach. Ciliated cells are super important. They move like waves and sweep out bacteria that are trapped in mucus. The mucus is wafted up the trachea and often swallowed, where our stomach acid will destroy the bacteria. This is one way our body protects us from illness.
  • Question 9

The egg and sperm cells are known as sex cells.

 

What is another name for the sex cells?

 

 

Image of egg and sperm cell

CORRECT ANSWER
Gametes
Gamete
EDDIE SAYS
Just to make life a little more complicated, here's another definition to remember! Did you spell it right? A gamete is the scientific name for a sex cell - the egg or the sperm cell.
  • Question 10

In some females, two egg cells may be released at once from the ovary (instead of just one egg cell).

 

If each of these egg cells become fertilised by separate sperm cells, what may result?

CORRECT ANSWER
Non-identical twins
EDDIE SAYS
Do you know the biological difference between identical and non-identical twins? When separate eggs are fertilised by separate sperm, then non-identical twins develop. This is because the genetic information from one fertilised egg is different from the other fertilised egg cells. The twins will look different from one another but, like most siblings, may share some physical similarities. Identical twins, on the other hand, are created from a single fertilised egg that splits in two. Because they both come from the same egg, they will share the same genetic code, making them identical.
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