Small Intros to Big Questions: How many types of cells make up a human?

The average human body is made up of 37 trillion cells — that’s roughly 4.3 million times the population of New York City. This cellular world is vastly diverse, and biologists are constantly discovering new types of cells with novel functions. But what exactly makes one cell type different from another? How many different kinds of cells comprise a person? Is it possible to change one type of cell into another?

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Small Intros to Big Questions: Did evolution have to happen this way?

Equilibria will occasionally post lightning introductions to our favorite big questions in biology. This is our first, and is in collaboration with Josh Cofsky, a PhD student in Jennifer Doudna and John Kuriyan’s labs at UC Berkeley. 

The world teems with an incredibly diverse array of lifeforms, each shaped by millions of years of evolution. Biologists and philosophers have long pondered: was the evolution of the particular varieties of life that we observe on Earth today a predetermined process, or a product of chance? Or, perhaps a bit of both?

Continue reading “Small Intros to Big Questions: Did evolution have to happen this way?”